Top Tanzanian Opposition Leaders Jailed Over Sedition, Incitement Charges

Published March 28th, 2018 - 05:00 GMT
Freeman Mbowe, leader of the Chadema party, was charged over his alleged role in a February 16 protest during which a 22-year-old student who was not taking part was shot dead by a stray bullet from police. (AFP/ File Photo)
Freeman Mbowe, leader of the Chadema party, was charged over his alleged role in a February 16 protest during which a 22-year-old student who was not taking part was shot dead by a stray bullet from police. (AFP/ File Photo)

Eight top Tanzanian opposition leaders were charged Tuesday with sedition, incitement against the government, and unlawful assembly over demonstrations this February in Dar es Salaam.

Before a court in Dar es Salaam, the East African country's business capital, Freeman Mbowe, who leads the opposition Chadema party, as well as party official Vincent Mashinji and his deputies Salum Mwalimu and John Mnyika were alleged to have committed the offenses on Feb. 16 during the demonstrations.

A person was shot dead by police during the demonstrations in Kinondoni, Dar es Salaam.

Others before the court include MPs Peter Msigwa and Ester Matiko, while MPs John Heche and Halima Mdee were not present but are to be included in the charges.

They are on remand until Friday as prosecutors asked the court to deny bail due to security concerns.

Tanzania’s democracy and freedom of expression have been tested since President John Magufuli was sworn into office in November 2015.

The country has imposed a ban on political rallies and demonstrations.

In late February MP Joseph Mbilinyi began serving five months in jail for hate speech against the president, and several opposition leaders are facing the same charges in different courts across the country.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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