‘Police Torture Suspect to Death’

Swaziland police killed a suspect by suffocating him during questioning, a newspaper in the kingdom has reported.

The killing happened on Friday (12 June 2015) at the Manzini police station.

The Swazi News, an independent newspaper in the kingdom, where media censorship is the norm, reported that the man ‘was suffocated using the now infamous technique known as “tubing”.’

The newspaper reported, ‘The police took the man who worked as a barber to assist them in an investigation at about 8:30am yesterday [Friday] and a few hours later, he was reported dead. The police officers, as they led the suspect away, had warned his work mates that he would not return.

‘A part of Manzini came to a standstill as about 100 sympathisers gathered at the Manzini Police station to enquire about their colleague whom they were told died during interrogation.’

The newspaper said the man was being questioned for being in possession of a stolen CD writer.

The incident is one of many cases of torture reported in Swaziland where police and security services have been accused of operating as private militias for King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

In report surveying human rights abuses in 2012, Amnesty International stated, ‘Torture and other ill-treatment remained a concern, with a High Court judge in April [2012] calling for a commission of inquiry into repeated allegations by accused in criminal trials that they had been subjected to torture, which included beatings and suffocation.

‘Deaths under suspicious circumstances and the failure of the authorities to ensure independent investigation and accountability continued to cause concern. Police and members of the military were implicated in the reported incidents.’

In May 2012 the US State Department investigated the use of torture in Swaziland and found, ‘Security officers reportedly used torture during interrogation, assaulted citizens, and used excessive force in carrying out their duties. Reported practices included beatings and temporary suffocation using a rubber tube tied around the face, nose, and mouth, or plastic bags over the head.’

Source : Swazi Media Commentary