Swaziland police have disrupted and disbanded a meeting that was to address labour rights violations in the kingdom on Friday, Cosatu said.

The global inquiry that was to be chaired by former South African communications minister Jay Naidoo was interrupted by police and paramilitary, Congress of SA Trade Unions spokesman Patrick Craven said.

“They were detained last night [Thursday] and taken to police headquarters in Manzini. This morning [Friday] we were told, reliably, that they were told they couldn’t hold their gathering. They [Naidoo and co-panelists] were on their way back to South Africa,” Craven said.

Cosatu earlier said: “Swazi police demanded that… Naidoo and the whole panel stop and pack all their belongings and leave Swaziland.”

On Thursday, Naidoo — a former general secretary of Cosatu — was released from police custody.

“Jay was arrested at a roadblock on his way to Manzini,” Swaziland Solidarity Network spokesman Lucky Lukhule said.

“He was briefly detained and released after questioning.”

The panel consists of Alec Muchadehama, a Zimbabwean human rights lawyer and activist; Paul Verryn of the Methodist Church; and Nomthetho Simelane, a former lecturer in political science at the University of Swaziland.

Lukhule said Vincent Ncongwane, former secretary general of the Swaziland United Democratic Front, was arrested on Thursday morning, and held at the regional police headquarters in Manzini. He was later released and placed under house arrest.

Lukhule said representatives of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) were also questioned and followed from the airport to a hotel in Manzini.

Craven called on the international trade union movement to launch a campaign for human rights and democracy in Swaziland.

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