Eswatini: Authorities must investigate police shooting of a protester and stop excessive use of force

A protester is in a critical condition in hospital after being shot in the head by Eswatini security forces outside parliament during protests to deliver a petition to the US embassy urging the United States to intervene following the arrest and detention of two members of parliament. In response to the news, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena, said:

It is shocking that someone who had merely been exercising their right to freedom of expression is now lying badly injured in a hospital bed

Deprose Muchena: Director for East and Southern Africa

“Thousands of peaceful protesters were violently dispersed, with security agents using live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas in Eswatini today. It is shocking that someone who had merely been exercising their right to freedom of expression is now lying badly injured in a hospital bed.

“The Eswatini authorities have shown no remorse nor restraint in their brutal response to peaceful protests in the country. Instead of listening to the genuine complaints of protesters, including their demands that activists are freed, human rights are protected and reforms undertaken, authorities have allowed this crackdown to continue. 

Authorities must launch a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the shooting of protesters today and ensure that suspected perpetrators are brought to justice in fair trials

Deprose Muchena

“Authorities must launch a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the shooting of protesters today and ensure that suspected perpetrators are brought to justice in fair trials. They must also allow people to freely exercise their human rights, ensure that excessive force is not used against protesters, and immediately stop their vicious campaign to crush dissent.”

Background

More than 10,000 people marched to the US embassy to deliver the petition in Eswatini today but were violently dispersed, with security agents using live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas, according to witness reports. The army was also deployed with soldiers seen setting up road  blocks to stop people from joining the protests.

MPs Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube were arrested on the evening of 25 July 2021 and have been in detention at Mbabane police station ever since. They face vaguely worded charges under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. “Pro-democracy” protests started in June in the Kingdom of Eswatini following the mysterious death of 25-year-old law student, Thabani Nkomonye. He allegedly died at the hands of the police.

Since the start of protests demanding political reforms, the government of Eswatini has launched a ruthless crackdown on human rights. Dozens of people have been killed and many others tortured, detained or abducted.

The post Eswatini: Authorities must investigate police shooting of a protester and stop excessive use of force appeared first on Amnesty International.

Source / Read More: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/press-release/2021/10/eswatini-authorities-must-investigate-police-shooting/

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