Swaziland: up to 1,000 prisoners could be freed from jail early

As many as 1,000 prisoners in Swaziland / eSwatini could be released from jail before the end of their sentences because the government cannot afford to keep them locked up.

The move follows reports that His Majesty’s Correctional Services that run jails in the kingdom could not afford to feed all inmates. Electricity has been cut off because of unpaid bills and water has been rationed.

The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III who rules Swaziland as an absolute monarch, reported on Wednesday (13 March 2019) that between 600 and 1,000 inmates could be released.

According to official figures from Swaziland published by World Prison Brief, Institute for Criminal Policy Research, as of March 2015 the prison population in Swaziland (including pre-trial detainees / remand prisoners) was 3,610.

The Observer reported Correctional Services Deputy Public Relations Officer Mandla Sibiya saying special boards would meet to decide who could be freed before the end of their sentences.

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