Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Isles' Jail Conditions Worry Family, Lawyers

LAWYERS and family members of Sheikh Farid Hadi Ahmed and seven others being charged with conspiracy and instigating violence in Zanzibar, have called for improvement of detention conditions and treatment of detainees.

"The detainees have no contact with other prisoners, not allowed to receive regular visits from their family, no news from the outside world, spend most of their time in cells and are deprived of food from home as punishment," defence lawyers and family members complained.

One of the family members who requested anonymity, said they wrote a letter to the Tanzania Commission of Human Rights and Good Governance (TCHRG); the Ministry for Good Governance and the ministry responsible for constitution and legal affairs.

However, Mr Zahor Juma Khamis from TCHRG and Mr Joseph Meza- Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Good Governance, each responded separately by saying they had not received any letter from families complaining about Muslim leaders in remand.

The family members and defence lawyers argue that the conditions in cells may cause the detainees' health to deteriorate, as they ask responsible persons to intervene and make sure that all detainees are treated well as they await trial.

"Inmates are entitled to medical care, right to be free from segregation in prisons, the right to complain about prison conditions and pre-trial detainees cannot be 'punished' or treated as if they are guilty while they await trial," Salum Tawfiq, the lawyer for the accused said. The case comes for mention tomorrow and on Wednesday in separate courts.

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