Tension of evidence in Tanzania’s landmark prostitution case

For many prostitutes, the decision to remain in the trade is deeply rooted in the harsh realities of financial instability and economic hardship. PHOTO | PA

What you need to know:

  • The defendants, represented by lawyers Peter Madeleka, Gaston Garubindi, and Maria Mushi, are accused under criminal case number 17279 of 2024, for allegedly engaging in public indecency and prostitution activities at Sinza Mori, Ubungo District in Dar es Salaam on June 14, 2024.

Dar es Salaam. A tense legal battle is underway in Dar es Salaam as the Tanzanian government prepares to bring forward 15 witnesses and 10 exhibits as evidence in a high-profile case involving allegations of public indecency against Amina Ramadhani and 17 co-accused.

The prosecution, led by state attorneys Regina Kanyuni and Winifrida Wiko, detailed the charges on Wednesday, July 10, at the Sokoine Drive Resident Magistrate's Court before Magistrate Francis Mhina.

The defendants, represented by lawyers Peter Madeleka, Gaston Garubindi, and Maria Mushi, are accused under criminal case number 17279 of 2024, for allegedly engaging in public indecency and prostitution activities at Sinza Mori, Ubungo District in Dar es Salaam on June 14, 2024.

"The defendants were reportedly found in provocative attire, exposing their bodies in public spaces with the intent to solicit men to pick them and have sexual intercourse with them," stated attorney Kanyuni.

The prosecution's request to withhold the number of evidence exhibits initially sparked a dispute, with defense counsel Madeleka urging transparency and arguing for the disclosure of evidence details before trial proceedings begin.

In response, Magistrate Mhina ruled in favor of disclosure, emphasizing the importance of transparency and adherence to legal procedures. "It is crucial that both sides uphold the principles of justice as outlined in the Constitution," Magistrate Mhina asserted.

Following the ruling, Attorney Kanyuni requested the court to set a trial date, with a commitment to disclose the evidence specifics beforehand.

The case has been adjourned until July 29, 2024, with expectations that the prosecution will present a minimum of three witnesses on the trial's opening day, while all defendants remain out on bail.