BHRC releases statement of concern for detention of Law Society President in Tanzania

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BHRC has released a statement of concern for Tundo Lissu, the president of the Tanganyika Law Society.

Tundu Lissu was arrested on 20th July 2017 at the Julius Nyerere International airport in Dar es Salaam, when he was on his way to Kigali, Rwanda to represent the TLS at the East African Civil Society Governing Body Council Meeting. Mr Lissu was subsequently detained by the police. His arrest and detention are believed to be the result of his advocacy for democracy in Tanzania and his representation of “opposition” clients.

In its statement, BHRC calls upon the Tanzanian authorities to ensure that any charge against Mr. Lissu be revoked with immediate and unconditional effect, unless it is fully and lawfully substantiated with cogent evidence and reasoning, providing proper and appropriate recourse for appeal. BHRC further calls upon the Tanzanian government to ensure that its laws and actions are in compliance with its human rights obligations, respecting the freedom of expression and assembly.

Kirsty Brimelow QC, Chairwoman of BHRC said: “Freedom of expression means that we are free to criticise the State. In this case the State appears to have responded with the arrest of Mr. Lissu. This is in breach of international law. It is fundamental that Tanzania complies with its international human rights law commitments. The charge against Mr. Lissu appears to lack an evidencial basis that indicates criminality. In such circumstances, his prosecution should be discontinued as a matter of urgency.”

 

You can read the full statement here.

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