Sabahi (Washington, DC)

Tanzanian Prosecutor Calls for Ponda's Arrest for Violating Court Order

Tanzania's Director of Public Prosecutions Eliezer Feleshi has called on police to arrest Sheikh Ponda Issa Ponda for violating a court order not to engage in incitement activities, Tanzania's Daily News reported Friday (August 9th).

"He was convicted of a similar offense, but was still conducting acts that threaten the public order and concord," Feleshi said. "We hope the police will exercise their powers wisely to arrest Sheikh Ponda and take him to court for penal actions."

Ponda was arrested last October for inciting violence that led to the destruction of property in Dar es Salaam and was sentenced to a year in prison. He was released from prison in May after Resident Magistrate Victoria Nongwa commuted the prison sentence, as Ponda has already spent seven months in police custody.

Police in Zanzibar are now tracing Ponda's whereabouts after reports that he has called for demonstrations against the government. Ponda, secretary general of the Council of Muslim Organisations, allegedly told his followers to fight for their rights.

"This is not acceptable. We cannot let one disobey court orders and go unpunished," Feleshi said.

Police have arrested and interrogating five people suspected of giving shelter to the cleric.

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