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Swaziland's 'reign of torture'

By Anna Majavu | 2011-04-08 06:50:12.0

THE Swaziland Solidarity Network says the Swazi monarchy has begun a "reign of torture" ahead of next Tuesday's planned uprising in that country.

SSN spokesperson Lucky Lukhele said yesterday that Mcoliso Ngcamphalala, the national organiser of the Swaziland Youth Congress, was arrested on Tuesday.

"At the torture chamber, a room in the police station specially reserved for this evil and illegal act, he was beaten and kicked while handcuffed, throttled and suffocated with a plastic bag," Lukhele said.

According to Lukhele, when police arrested Ngcamphalala, they told him to stop organising the April 12 uprising or they would kill him.

Lukhele said at least four other prominent activists had also been arrested.

Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III, one of the last absolute monarchs in the world. According to the Forbes 2009 list of the World's Richest Royals, Mswati is worth R670million.

There have been no democratic elections in the country since 1973, unions and political parties are banned, and 70percent of Swazi citizens live below the poverty line. Despite this, the SA government has always maintained cordial relations with the Swazi regime.

Cosatu is backing the April 12 uprising, with its Mpumalanga province to hold a mass march to the Oshoek border post on that day.

Zanele Matebula, Cosatu deputy international secretary, said thousands of members would blockade the border post for the day.