Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Warders stripped me naked - Mario

Warders stripped me naked - Mario


Swazi Times May 13,2009

MBABANE – Incarcerated political activist Mario Masuku has alleged that he was stripped naked by over 20 warders during an abrupt night search.

The PUDEMO President alleged that on the night of March 26, 2009 warders stormed into his cell, woke him up, stripped and left him naked in a search that lasted for about 30 minutes. Masuku has been in prison for about six months now on charges of Terrorism and Sedition.

In his founding affidavit filed at the High Court, Masuku further demands to be granted adequate time and facilities to conduct his defence againsta the Terrorism and Sedition charges. The Correctional Services are yet to file their answering papers in the matter.

Masuku further alleged that the warders used violence and vulgar language while conducting their search on him. Though admitting that prison authorities had power to search for undesirable material, he stated that their conduct was not permissible by the country’s constitution.

“I respectfully stated that the Commissioner of Correctional Services must be stopped from unlawfully unleashing his officers to harass and ill-treat me and others at night,” he claimed in his founding affidavit. He mentioned that officers should exercise some level of consideration when searching prisoners. Masuku also alleged that he had not been given sufficient time to consult with his legal representative and to attend to his visitors.


He also alleged that the prison authorities had told him that there were other people who had gone to visit his relatives. Masuku is represented by Thulani Maseko of TR Maseko Attorneys in the matter.

Maseko who filed a confirmatory affidavit also alleged that Masuku had not been granted adequate time to consult with him. He alleged that the consultation time had been limited to 20 minutes.

“In my view, this is contrary to the fair hearing right guaranteed under section 21 of the constitution,” reads part of his affidavit. Masuku has been in prison since late 2008 and charges of Terrorism and Sedition were preferred against him. He allegedly refused to be released on bail. The matter is yet to appear in court.

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