Tanzania: Arbitrary detention of Mr. Tito Magoti

Urgent Appeal

TZA 001 / 1219 / OBS 113
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
December 26, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Tanzania.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Legal and Human Rights Center (LHRC) about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment faced by Mr. Tito Magoti, Mass Education Officer at the LHRC.

According to the information received, on December 20, 2019, around 10:30 am, Mr. Tito Magoti was arrested by five unknown people at Mwenge, Dar es Salaam. Between December 20 and 22, 2019, police confirmed Mr. Magoti’s arrest and detention, without indicating the charges against him or his whereabouts. The police reportedly questioned him about his online activism on Twitter, where he regularly reports on issues related to human rights, the rule of law, and good governance, as well as his relationship with several leading online activists and opposition voices. During his interrogation, he had no access to his lawyers.

On December 24, 2019, Mr. Magoti was brought before the Resident Magistrate’s Court of Dar es Salaam and charged with "leading organised crime" (para. 4(1)(a) of the First Schedule and Sections 57(1) and 60(2) of the Economic and Organized Crimes Control Act), "possession of a computer program designed for the purpose of committing an offence" (Section 10(1)(&) of the Cyber Crimes Act) and "money laundering" (Sections 12(d) and 13(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act).

As of issuing this Urgent Appeal, Mr. Magoti remained detained at Segerea Remand Prison. His next hearing is scheduled for January 7, 2020 before the Resident Magistrate’s Court of Dar es Salaam.

The Observatory expresses its utmost concern over the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Mr. Tito Magoti, which seems to be merely aiming at sanctioning his human rights activities.

The Observatory urges the Tanzanian authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally, drop all charges against him, and ensure that all judicial proceedings are carried out in full compliance with his right to a fair trial as protected under international law.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Tanzania asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Tito Magoti as well as of all human rights defenders in Tanzania;

ii. Release Mr. Tito Magoti immediately and unconditionally, since his detention is arbitrary as it seems to be merely aimed at sanctioning his human rights activities;

iii. Ensure in all circumstances Mr. Magoti’s unhindered access to a lawyer of his choice;

iv. End all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Magoti as well as against all human rights defenders in Tanzania, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their work without any hindrance or fear of reprisals;

v. Comply with all the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular with its Articles 1, 6 and 12.2;

vi. More generally, ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Tanzania.


President of Tanzania, Hon. Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli Fax: +255 22 2113425; E-mail: ikulu@ikulu.go.tz
Prime Minister of Tanzania, Rt. Hon. Kassim Majaliwa Fax: +255 22 2112850; E-mail: ps@pmo.go.tz
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Hon. Dkt. Augustine Mahiga, Fax: +255 (0)22 226600
Embassy of Tanzania in Brussels, Belgium, Fax (0032) (0) 2 646 80 26; Email: tanzania@skynet.be
Permanent Representative of the United Republic of Tanzania to the United Nations, Geneva and Vienna, Fax: +41 22 732 82 55; Email: mission.tanzania@ties.itu.int .

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Tanzania in your respective countries.

Paris-Geneva, December 26, 2019

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and OMCT. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

E-mail: Appeals[at]fidh-omct.org
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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