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Amnesty International Report 1994 - Tanzania

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 1 January 1994
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 1994 - Tanzania, 1 January 1994, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa0c14.html [accessed 21 May 2019]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Dozens of supporters of opposition political parties, some of them prisoners of conscience, were held for brief periods. Long-standing charges were dropped against a prominent political opponent of the government. Courts continued to impose cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments. At least three people were sentenced to death but no executions were reported.

In September, following months of debate about the creation of a Tanganyika government similar to the government of Zanzibar, the Union government, led by President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, announced that it would propose constitutional amendments to the 1964 union between Zanzibar and the mainland. The issue arose after it emerged in January that Zanzibar had secretly joined the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) in December 1992. In August Zanzibar withdrew from the oic in an attempt to defuse the constitutional crisis.

There were widespread allegations that officials and supporters of the Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), Party of the Revolution, which retained control of government and administrative structures, had harassed members of opposition parties as they campaigned in the build-up to local government elections in November, the first elections under the multi-party constitution introduced in 1992.

In April militant Islamists destroyed three pork butcheries in Dar es Salaam. The authorities, accusing the Baraza la Kuendeleza Koran Tanzania (BALUKTA), the Quran Development Council of Tanzania, of involvement, banned the organization. Dozens of people were arrested, including prisoners of conscience, and held briefly. For example, 36 people who were arrested for demonstrating peacefully against the authorities' action in bringing charges against other BALUKTA members for allegedly destroying pork butcheries, were denied bail for periods ranging between one and two weeks before charges of holding illegal demonstrations were dropped. The 36, all prisoners of conscience, were then released.

In September at least 30 people were arrested in Zanzibar and Pemba after the Minister of Home Affairs instructed police to bring sedition charges against people abusing or insulting government leaders. The arrests followed a pattern established in previous years whereby the police arrest government opponents, charge them with sedition or a minor criminal offence, the courts deny bail for a brief period, ostensibly on the grounds that the accused might interfere in police investigations, and the charges are subsequently dropped before the cases come to trial. Among those arrested after the minister's instructions were 10 people accused of organizing an illegal assembly and insulting Dr Salmin Amour, the President of Zanzibar. The 10, including Huwena Hamad, wife of Seif Shariff Hamad, a prominent Zanzibari leader and Vice-Chairman of the Civic United Forum (CUF), one of Tanzania's main opposition parties, appeared to be prisoners of conscience. They were released within days and it was not clear if charges remained outstanding at the end of the year.

Charges of illegally possessing government documents brought against Seif Shariff Hamad in 1989 were finally dropped in February. Seif Shariff Hamad had been released on bail in December 1991 (see Amnesty International Report 1993).

The courts continued to impose cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments in the form of caning. For example, in July Samil Walji from Dar es Salaam received six strokes of the cane after he had been convicted of trespassing with intent to commit an offence.

At least three men were sentenced to death for murder; two of them were militiamen from Singida convicted in the High Court of torturing and killing a prisoner arrested for rape in 1990. There were no reports of executions.

Amnesty International was concerned about the detention of prisoners of conscience, and about the use of caning and the death penalty.

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