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Tanzania: Release opposition leader and party members

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In response to the arbitrary arrest of opposition leader Freeman Mbowe and 11 other party officials and Democratic Party and Progress staff (Party for Democracy and Development in Swahili) officially known as Chadema, Flavia Mwangovya, Amnesty International Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Region, said:

Tanzanian authorities must end the escalating crackdown on party and opposition leaders

Flavia Mwangovya, Amnesty International Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Region

Tanzanian authorities must end the escalating crackdown on party and opposition leaders. If the authorities do not have clear legal reasons to justify these arrests, all those arrested in this crackdown should be released immediately. The Tanzanian Police Force must also account for the whereabouts of Freeman Mbowe, who is currently unaccounted for – and ensure his safety and safe return.

Tanzanian authorities must stop targeting the opposition and trying to narrow the space in which they are able to operate

Flavia Mwangovya

The Tanzanian authorities must stop targeting the opposition and trying to narrow the space in which they are able to operate. These arbitrary arrests and detentions show that the Tanzanian authorities do not flagrantly respect the rule of law and human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression and association. These politically motivated arrests must be stopped.

Background

The 12 opposition members were arrested at 2.30am on July 21 from their hotel rooms in Mwanza by Tanzanian police. The arrest came hours before a planned conference calling for a new constitution for the country, which was organized by the opposition party.

While 11 Democracy and Progress (Party for Democracy and Development in Swahili) Tent members were taken to Mwanza Central Police Station, lawyers, family members and party officials were unable to enter party leader Freeman Mbowe.

On July 20, Mwanza Regional Commissioner Robert Gabriel banned all forms of gathering except religious meetings and funerals, stating that anyone intending to gather should obtain permission from his office.

According to the director of Party Protocol, Communication and Foreign Affairs, John Mrema, the 11 arrested at the Central Police Station have not been charged with any criminal offense. The lawyers they represent have also not seen any allegations of misconduct as to why they were arrested.

Sources

1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/07/tanzania-release-opposition-leader-and-party-members/

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