Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Jailed Mario’s lawyer takes govt to court

Jailed Mario’s lawyer takes govt to court
Swazi Times June 09,2009

MBABANE – Human rights Lawyer and also Acting President of the Law Society Mandla Mkhwanazi has also filed an urgent application at the High Court against government.

In his application he expresses discontent over how he is allegedly made to take off his shoes and socks when consulting jailed PUDEMO leader Mario Masuku at the Matsapha Maximum Prison. Government will today file its responding papers and the matter is set to commence before Judge Jacobus Annandale today.

He also alleges that he is now being made to consult Masuku over a fence at the visitor’s room and in the presence of prison warders and that these are the new rules with regards to attorneys that appear on behalf of Masuku. Judge Jacobus Annandale could not listen to the urgent application yesterday as he was reportedly out to see a dentist.

Mkhwanazi, who forms part of Masuku’s legal team and also lawyer of jailed human rights attorney Thulani Maseko, alleges that when he goes to consult with Masuku, he is told to take off his shoes, socks and then searched all over the body. He states that he has tried to negotiate with the warders that besides their conduct being inhuman, he had caught flu and would not want his feet to be exposed to the floor but his argument bore no fruits.

“Initially when I came to consult with my client, we would be given an office within the prison and consult behind closed doors with privacy and in confidence with my client. I remember one occasion I was allowed to consult with my client inside an office inside the Maximum Security Cells but still enjoyed reasonable privacy and confidentiality. On or about April 22, 2009 I went o consult with my client in prison.

For the first time a ‘head to toe search’ was conducted on my body. I did not mind same as it was explained to me that it was a rule but the search was conducted under strenuous protests by myself as it only came by way of mouth as opposed to uniting in an institution like the Maximum prison of the country,” alleges Mkhwanazi. Consult He argues that he was astounded when the prison officers took him to the general visitor’s room, where he was told to consult with Masuku with a high fence separating them. “There is no privacy in the general visitor’s room, since, despite the all time presence of a warder during consultation, other inmates and warders then get access to our conversations which are supposed to be private and confidential. Having complained to the senior officers at the prison that the new set up defeated the whole principle of ethics on confidentiality between attorney and own client, I was only advised that, it was yet another new rule (sic),” he alleges.

He alleges that given the above problems, he eventually failed to consult with Masuku. He argues that yesterday he prepared answering affidavits on behalf of his client under civil case 1753/09 with the intention of having them commissioned for subsequent filing in court.

He said he was told to undergo what he calls the most humiliating, degrading and inhuman treatment ever to be subjected to himself as an attorney and officer of the High Court. He said the new rules that have been passed were that he would consult Masuku over the general visitor’s room and that he would have to undergo head to toe searches.

Mkhwanazi also said he would have to remove his shoes and socks before he could have an access to Masuku. Mkhwanazi is worried that he has was now being treated like convict who is strapped naked and searched all over the body when he wants to see his client.

1 comment:

  1. hope mario is well i prison i will try to get help from my side lets pray to God and He will provide for us