Tanzania: Jailed Journalist Kabendera Ready to Admit 'Wrongdoing' to Speed Up Case

5 November 2019

A Tanzanian journalist currently in custody over money laundering and tax evasion charges now says he is ready to negotiate a plea-bargain.

According to British newspaper The Times, Eric Kabendera is ready to admit wrongdoing so as to speed up the case as his health deteriorates.

This even as Kabendera's sibling Prisca maintains that he is innocent.

GUILTY PLEA

"He has said the accusations against him are untrue, but if he must plead guilty to charges in order to be free, it seems he might just accept any deal. That's how desperate he is," explained Prisca.

President John Magufuli has in the past offered amnesty to prisoners accused of economic crimes in return for guilty pleas.

The Tanzanian leaders has in the past said that amnesty would help to ease prison crowding and raise money for state spending, although there have been speculations that it is his way of saving face.

DRAMATIC ARREST

Kabendera, who has been in custody since July, is an anti-corruption reporter who has written for many international publications, including The Times.

Court appearances since his dramatic arrest at his home in Dar es Salaam have revealed a decline in the journalists' health.

There is no automatic entitlement to bail for economic crimes and his lawyers fear it could take years for the father of two's case to be heard and determined.

Magufuli's four-year reign has been marked by detention, sudden deaths or disappearances of some of his critics.

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