from ALLOYCE KIMBUNGA in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
DAR-ES-SALAAM, (CAJ News) – THE detention of a human rights lawyer and his co-accused on charges of organised crime and money laundering are seen as a latest ploy by the Tanzanian government to silence critics.
Lawyer Tito Elia Magoti and Theodory Giyani, a technology expert, are detained on the charges.
They were arrested on December 20 on unbailable charges under the Economic and Organised Crimes Control Act as well as the Cybercrimes Act and Anti-Money Laundering Act.
Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Eastern Africa, said the organisation was outraged at the government’s abuse of the criminal justice system by detaining critics on unbailable offences for weeks under the guise of investigating cases.
“The authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Tito Magoti and his co-accused Theodory Giyani and live up to their national and international obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfill everyone’s civil and political rights.”
According to Magoti’s lawyer, he was arbitrarily arrested by plain clothes police officers after tweeting his support for and his association with vocal government critics.
The arrest has sparked an outcry.
In a similar case, journalist Erick Kabendera was arrested in July last year.
He has since appeared in court more than 12 times as the state prosecution successfully petitions for more time to complete investigations.
Critics accuse the administration of President John Magufuli of closing the human rights space since he came to power in 2015.
Since his election, some media organistions have been forced to close and opposition politicians been arrested.
Political rallies have been banned despite the country anticipated to hold elections later this year.
– CAJ News