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Controversy Over Arrest Of Tanzanian Journalist Kabendera Intensifies As USA And UK Express Concern

USA and UK have jointly expressed concern about the arrest of Tanzanian freelance investigative journalist Erick Kabendera, hence intensifying the controversy already surrounding the arrest. That was reported by some East African media on August 9, 2019.

According to the reports, USA and UK have issued a statement through their respective embassies in Dar es Salaam, expressing concern about steady erosion of due process in the justice system in Tanzania. Without specifically mentioning Kabendera, the statement continued by citing frequent resort to lengthy pre-trial incarceration, and changing charges by the country's justice system.

Journalist Erick Kabendera was arrested at his home Dar es Salaam on July 29, 2019 by six plain clothed police officers, and taken to custody. Initially, the police said his arrest was over issues pertaining to his citizenship. They, however, later changed their mind, accusing the journalist of sedition. The latter was said to be in connection to an article in The Economist published by the journalist. As if that was not good enough for their purpose, the law enforcement authorities in Dar es Salaam on August 5, 2019, changed their allegations against the journalist one more time, accusing him of money laundering, tax evasion, and serious organized crime.

So far, Erick Kabandera's lawyer and human rights groups have maintained the arrest of the journalist is politically motivated.

Individual freedom and particularly freedom of expression in Tanzania is said to have seriously deteriorated since the end of 2015.


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