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US slams arrest of MPs in eSwatini

The United States embassy in Mbabane has slammed the arrest of two pro-democracy eSwatini Members of Parliament on alleged terrorism…

The United States embassy in Mbabane has slammed the arrest of two pro-democracy eSwatini Members of Parliament on alleged terrorism charges.Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube were arrested at the weekend on charges of contravening the country’s Suppression of Terrorism Act. They are due to appear in the high court in Mbabane.

Police have reportedly issued a warrant of arrest for a third MP, Mduduzi Simelane, of the People’s United Democratic Movement on the same charges.

“The suppression of the right of individuals — including Members of Parliament — to freely express their opinions is unacceptable,” the US embassy said in a statement on Tuesday.

It called on the eSwatini government “to exercise transparency in the application of law and to respect human rights despite political differences.”

“We will continue to engage contacts at all levels of government and across civil society, and reiterate our call for an honest, constructive dialogue with all stakeholders at the table,” the embassy said.

The arrests come in the wake of the violent suppression of pro-democracy protests in the southern African kingdom in June, which resulted in dozens of deaths and arrests.

The protesters were demanding political reforms in a country where King Mswati III holds absolute power.

The Southern African Development Community has during the past month dispatched fact-finding missions to promote dialogue in the country although pro-democracy activists have complained of being left out of the process.

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