”This is just a way to scare students from excising their right to freedom of speech,” “Stay strong Maxwell,” “Solidarity from Barcelona. We send you our energy and strength!!!,” “In solidarity! from Chile!,” “in unison,alutha continua!,” “Thanx 4dis group twl hlp us 2 brng 2geda ideas on hw to free our mates whu we arrested 4 nthng.” These are just some of the messages that people from around the world have posted on the Free Maxwell Dlamini Campaign’s website and Facebook page, and other messages of solidarity with President of the Swaziland National Union of Students, Maxwell Dlamini, keep flowing in. In the campaign’s first 24 hours, nearly a hundred e-mails were been sent to the Swazi regime demanding the release of Maxwell, over 500 people accessed the campaign’s website, and people from all over the world – including Swazi, Danish, South African, Namibian and Basque NGO’s; Danish, German and Norweigan students; South African public employees and people from all over the world have wished to publically support the campaign.
The press has also covered the campaign. In the past week, the campaign has been in the news in England (The Guardian), Denmark (Arbejderen and U-landsnyt), Norway (SAIH), and The Times of Swaziland, who brought an article about the Free Maxwell Dlamini Campaign in its Swazi News Saturday edition. The South African Broadcast Cooperation, SABC, also ran a documentary, Swaziland’s Political Prisoners that amongst other things included interviews in prison with Maxwell Dlamini filmed with a hidden camera. Maxwell Dlamini is keeping up his sprits and is pleased that the Free Maxwell Campaign, the British National Union of Students and others are campaigning for his release. “It was good for Maxwell to see for himself that there is something of this sort going on in Europe,” a source from within the democratic movement who has visited Maxwell recently told me. The reason for the massive show of solidarity towards Maxwell Dlamini is that he has obviously been abused and framed by Swazi police.
Maxwell was detained, tortured, and forced to sign a confession that says he was in possession of explosives during the April 12 Swazi Uprising – a movement inspired by similar uprisings in North Africa and The Middle East. The charges against Maxwell Dlamini of being in possession of explosives, and thus contravening Sections 8 and 9 of Swaziland’s Explosives Act 4 of 1961, have been described as preposterous by several members of the democratic movement in Swaziland, as well as by unions and solidarity organisations around the world, and Amnesty International has urged Swaziland to ensure his, and fellow accused Musa Ngubeni’s, safety. If convicted, Maxwell Dlamini faces up to five years in prison. The Free Maxwell Dlamini Campaign say on their website that they “demand that Maxwell Dlamini is released unconditionally and that any and all wrongdoings committed by Swaziland’s police forces and security forces towards Maxwell Dlamini and other members of Swaziland’s democratic movement are investigated, and that any perpetrators are brought before a court of law.”
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