Dar es Salaam. Rights groups have filed case at the High Court of Tanzania demanding immediate arraignment of its Public Affairs officer Tito Magoti who is being held by police for over three days now.
Rights groups that are exerting pressure on police to grant bail to the young lawyer are his employer Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) and the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC).
Respondents in the case are the Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander Lazaro Mambosasa and the Attorney General (AG), Prof Adelardus Kilagi.
Speaking to The Citizen on Monday, December 23, 2019, LHRC executive director, Ms Anna Henga said the decision comes after police have refused to reveal the police station at which the lawyer is being held and charges he was facing.
“This has been a growing trend as security organs can arrest civilians secretly and hold them for a long time without information being communicated to families and relatives,” she said.
She said the statement by police confirmed to have arrested the lawyer, noting that, however, his lawyer and employee were not allowed to see the suspect and oversee how he is interrogated.
“It should be remembered that police have no mandate to hold suspects for over 24 hours without granting bail or arraigning him/her in court,” she said.
“The right to bail is provided by the country’s constitution. It deserves to be provided to any citizen facing bailable charges.”
The Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) national coordinator Onesmo Olengurumwa said the case was filed yesterday through the online system.
“We have submitted a certificate of urgency at the High Court of Tanzania demanding granting of bail to Mr Magoti. We have issued one day, otherwise we will proceed with the case,” he said.
But, yesterday, Mr Mambosasa promised that police would issue a statement on Mr Magoti today December 23 without delving into details.
Mr Magoti, 26, was forcefully taken by unknown people on Friday last week in the Mwenge area of Kinondoni District.
A few hours later, the Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander, Lazaro Mambosasa, issued a statement refuting abduction claims, saying that Tito had been arrested alongside three other people.
“They’re in the safe hands of law enforcers. They’re being interrogated over crime charges at a police station,” he said in a statement without disclosing the police station where he was been kept, or any charges against him.