Seven members of Swaziland’s best known pro-democracy party the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) have been arrested and charged under a terrorism act for wearing t-shirts and berets with the group’s name on them.
They were arrested outside the Swazi High Court where they were with other members of the public who gathered to show support for Bheki Makhubu and Thulani Maseko, who are in court on contempt charges following the publication of magazine articles that were critical of the kingdom’s judiciary.
PUDEMO is banned under Swaziland’s controversial Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA) which has been extensively used against opponents of King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
The Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN), another prodemocracy group banned under the STA, reported that seven PUDEMO members were arrested and charged. It named them as Bongani Gama; Mlungusi Makhanya (the group’s Secretary General); Brian Ntshangase (the group’s public relations officer); Mangaliso Khumalo; Bafana Magongo; Ntobeko Maseko and Size Tsabedze.
The men are expected to appear in court on Monday 28 April 2014.