Swaziland. Amnesty International and the international
legal community in January criticized the anti-terrorism
legislation that Swaziland introduced the year before.
critics claimed that it threatened human rights and violated
both international law and the country's own constitution.
According to Amnesty, it led to violations of freedom of
expression, association and meeting. The law allowed the
government to declare an organization, statement or document
as a terrorist threat and opened to a sentence of 25 years
In June, leading human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko was
arrested, who has long challenged the regime through
important legal cases. He was charged with rebellion. Among
those charged with terrorism and insurgency during the year
was Mario Masuku, leader of the opposition movement PUDEMO
(People's United Democratic Movement). Police made raids in
homes and offices of PUDEMO members and of the
Socio-Economic Justice Foundation. In September, Masuku was
released from the prosecution after ten months in custody.
He had been accused of being behind the bombing in the
capital Mbabane, which he refused. PUDEMO and three other
organizations had been banned and marked as a terrorist
organization. The Prohibited Movement The liberation army of
the Umban people took on the blame for the bombing.
In neighboring South Africa, the trade union movement and
the Communist Party demanded that the new President Jacob
Zuma act against the oppression of human rights in
Swaziland. But Zuma's personal friendship with King Mswati
seemed to prevent this. However, according to South African
data, there were pressures through silent diplomacy. In
December, Mario Masuku declared that his movement was
prepared for constructive dialogue with the government,
after King Mswati had expressed that his government was
willing to negotiate with the opposition. Two-thirds of the
population of Swaziland was estimated to live on less than
two dollars a day, while the king continued his luxury life.
In April it was reported that he had purchased several
luxurious and bulletproof Mercedes cars for the equivalent
of just over SEK 5 million each. The cars were built to
withstand chemical weapons as well.
According to figures during the year, Swaziland had the
highest proportion of HIV infected in the world. About 42
percent of women had HIV, and the life expectancy of the
population was only 37 years. According to the Minister of
Health, the increase in HIV infection among young women
showed that the information provided has no intended effect.
In Swaziland, men are circumcised, which can reduce the risk
of HIV infection but, on the other hand, increase men's risk