Pudemo-member murdered by Swazi police

According to credible sources in Swaziland, a member of the illegal party the People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo, a Swazi party “committed to the creation, protection and promotion of a constitutional multi-party democracy”), Sipho Jele, has died in police custody. Sipho Jele was arrested in Manzini on May-day, allegedly for having worn a Pudemo t-shirt. The police went on to ransack his home in search of his Pudemo membership card, after which he was taken into custody. The following day, police told Sipho’s grandmother that he had committed suicide, after which they forced Sipho’s family to bury him – probably to avoid a potentially revealing autopsy.

According to a Pudemo representative, the explanation given by police to his death is manifestly untrue: “We know this is incorrect”, he categorically stated.

This occurrence is unfortunately only one of many examples of the imaginative explanations for deaths in custody in Swaziland, as well as the generally brutal behaviour of the regime and its police and security forces towards advocates of democracy in Swaziland. According to many in Swaziland, the police conduct is comparable in brutality to that of the apartheid regimes police forces.

Sipho Jele was a former employee at Swaziland’s only pulp mill and was currently studying to become an engineer.  He had previously been charged with high treason in a high-profile trial in 2006, but was fully acquitted. Sipho was 37 years old.

Links:

Swazi regime under pressure in the case of Sipho Jele, Stiffkitten’s blog, 11 May 2010

His spirit shall live on, Times of Swaziland, 11 May 2010

Amnesty wants fair probe, Swazi Observer, 11 May 2010

Danish report on activist killing, Swazi Media Commentary, 10 May 2010

Dræbt på grund af en t-shirt, Arbejderen (Denmark), 10 May 2010

Jele’s death has killed my optimism, Times of Swaziland, 10 May 2010

Ignorance on Swazi democracy, Swazi Media Commentary, 10 May 2010

Union condemns activist killing, Swazi Media Commentary, 9 May

Death after ‘historic’ handshake, Times of Swaziland, 9 May 2010

Pudemo man’s family reject govt doctor, Times of Swaziland, 8 May 2010

Wearing Pudemo t-shirt is no crime, Swazi Media Commentary, 7 May 2010

Swazi dies in custody, The Sowetan, 7 May 2010

PM institutes inquest into Sipho Jele’s death, Times of Swaziland, 7 May 2010

How did Sipho die?, Times of Swaziland, 6 May 2010

Man allegedly killed in Swazi jail, Independent Online (South Africa), 6 May 2010

PUDEMO activist dies following Workers’ Day celebrations, Action for Southern Africa website, 6 May 2010

Man allegedly killed in Swazi jail, ZIA Network, 6 May 2010

Swazi opposition member killed in jail: Party leader, IC Publications, 6 May 2010

We feel your pain , Times of Swaziland editorial, 6 May 2010

Swazi youth on activists killing, Swazi Media Commentary, 6 May 2010

Pudemo man found hanging in toilet, Times of Swaziland, 6 May 2010

PUDEMO man hangs himself, Swaziland Observer, 6 May 2010

Numsa Statement on the brutal death of a Swazi Activist for wearing a Pudemo T-Shirts on May Day Celebrations at COSATU.org.za

Did Police lie on activists death?, Swazi Media Commentary, 5 May 2010

SWAYOCO statement on the death of Sipho Jele

May Day around the world, TUC website, 5 May 2010

Killed for wearing his PUDEMO T-shirt, Swaziland Solidarity Network Forum, 5 May 2010

Police kill democracy activist, Swazi Media Commentary, 5 May 2010

Activist killed in Swaziland for wearing t-shirt, anarkismo.net, 5 May 2010

Killed in Swaziland for wearing t-shirt, Africa Contact, 5 May 2010

Article at Pudemo’s blogspot

Pudemo’s website

3 Responses to Pudemo-member murdered by Swazi police

  1. Pingback: Swazi regime under pressure in case of Sipho Jele « Stiffkitten's Blog

  2. Pingback: Swazi police disrupt funeral of Sipho Jele « Stiffkitten's Blog

  3. Pingback: Mario Masuku arrested in Swaziland « Stiffkitten's Blog

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