Activists in new campaign against suspects’ rights violations

Tuesday January 22 2019

THRDC national coordinator Mr Onesmo Ole

THRDC national coordinator Mr Onesmo Ole Ngurumo 

By Josephine Christopher @JocfineQ jchristopher@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Two human rights groups have initiated a special campaign on Tuesday, January 22, seeking to encourage the public to speak against violation of rights of suspects when they get arrested by the police force.

The campaign titled: "Tetea haki za watuhimiwa (Defend the rights of suspects)" is a brainchild of the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) in association with the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC). 

Speaking in Dar es Salaam, the THRDC national coordinator Mr Onesmo Ole Ngurumo said violation of rights of suspects -- held by law enforcers -- was becoming a new normal in Tanzania, citing the recent ‘unlawful’ detention of three human rights defenders and two citizens at the Loliondo Police Station.

He said the five people were accused of theft and detained for 15 days contrary to what the law says. 

"While in custody, the suspects were badly beaten badly. Besides, though they needed emergency medical care, the police continued to hold them in cells until their fellow inmates start rioting for their rights,” he said

According to a researcher with the LHRC, Mr Tito Magoti, the law requires that a suspect should only be held for a maximum of 24 hours.

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"Putting suspects under police custody for more than 24 hours without any legal assistance is a violation of human rights, considering that police don’t have the skills and resources to hold people for such long time," he said.