5 January 2013

Tanzania: Isles Uamsho Leaders to Remain in Police Custody

Zanzibar — TEN leaders from Uamsho Muslim propagation group accused of causing insecurity in Zanzibar last year have been ordered to stay in jail until the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) nullifies the indefinite ban on bail.

Sheikh Abdallah Said Ali (48), Sheikh Fikirini Majaliwa Fikirini, Sheih Farid Hadi Ahmed (41), Msellem Ali Msellem (52), Mussa Juma Issa (37), Azzan Khalid Hamdan (48), Suleiman Juma Suleiman (66), Khamis Ali Suleiman (59), Hassan Bakar Suleiman (39) and Gharib Ahmad Omar (39) face four charges in connection to series of unrest last year.

"You have to wait until the DPP reverses blockage for bail," said the Regional Magistrate, Yessaya Kayange, as he set January 14 this year for another mention.The accused have not been allowed to enter any plea because the RM has no jurisdiction over cases linked to national security.

The accused who have been in jail since October 19 last year are charged with sabotage contrary to section 3 (d) of the National Security Act chapter 47 revised edition 2002 of the laws of Tanzania, and second count is "soliciting, inciting and persuading persons to commit offence contrary to section 11 of the National Security Act chapter 47 revised edition 2002 of the laws Tanzania."

The third count is conspiracy to commit felony contrary to section 3999 of the laws of Zanzibar; and the fourth charge involves Sheikh Azzan only accused of using abusive language against Commissioner of Police- Zanzibar, which is "breach of peace contrary to section 74 (1)(b) of the Penal Act No. 6 of 2004 of the laws of Zanzibar."

Defence Lawyers have been fighting to make sure that their clients were released on bail, because they had the right despite the charges facing them. They also demanded the cases to be transferred to the High Court for hearing since Regional Magistrate has no jurisdiction.Some people including relatives of the accused think the case was taking long, as prosecutors continue to collect evidence.

Meanwhile, eyewitnesses said that Mwinyi Sadallah of 'Nipashe' newspaper and Salma Said of 'Mwananchi' were harassed by one of the police officers who guarded the court entrance blocking journalists.

Reasons behind mistreatment to reporters by the police were not clear but recently the Zanzibar Minister of State (Police), Mr Mohamed Aboud, said journalists were free to report the case.

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