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By Peter Kenworthy, Africa Contact
Student leader and Swazi political prisoner Maxwell Dlamini has suffered what his family described as a possible mild stroke yesterday but was apparently denied proper treatment.
"Maxwell asked for permission to seek medical assistance for the condition he is in now. He said he felt pain in his left shoulder, after which he could not use the lower part of his left arm. He wants to get medical help outside prison because he does not believe he will receive proper medical attention there. We want to take him to a private doctor to ensure that our son gets satisfactory medical attention. We will speak to our lawyer to see how we can do that," Maxwell’s father, Nimrod Dlamini, told The Times of Swaziland after having visited his son yesterday.
According to a source from Swaziland’s democratic movement, Maxwell had informed the prison authorities about his illness, but was denied treatment. A representative from the Zakhele Remand Centre, where Maxwell is held, stated that Maxwell would be offered treatment, however, although he claimed to have been unaware of Maxwell’s illness.
The democratic movement have insisted that Maxwell Dlamini’s trial date should be set without further delay as they suspected that Maxwell’s illness was due to stress caused by the uncertainty surrounding his case and his treatment by Swazi police and prison authorities.
Maxwell Dlamini was pre-emptively detained and allegedly tortured by Swazi police before the April 12 uprising in Swaziland, where the Swazi regime violently clamped down on demonstrators and detained the entire leadership of the Swazi democratic movement.
Maxwell Dlamini has, together with his fellow accused Musa Ngubeni, been forced to sign a statement admitting possession of explosives and denied bail on several occasions. Maxwell has also been denied the right to sit his exams at the university of Swaziland where he is a student, and the Swazi authorities have done their utmost to obstruct their lawyer, Mandla Mkhwanazi.
The charges against Maxwell Dlamini and Musa Mgubeni 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 their safety.