SA rights lawyer ‘held hostage’ in Tan­za­nia

The Mercury - - FRONT PAGE - Mer­cury Cor­re­pon­dent

AC­CLAIMED South African hu­man rights lawyer Si­bongile Ndashe said she and 11 oth­ers were “held hostage” by Tan­za­nian of­fi­cials fol­low­ing their ar­rest in that coun­try.

Ndashe told jour­nal­ists that she and another South African were among a group of 12 hu­man rights ac­tivists “un­law­fully ar­rested” for what that coun­try’s gov­ern­ment has termed “pro­mot­ing ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity”.

They were not charged with a crime.

Ndashe and her col­league were de­ported from Tan­za­nia at the week­end af­ter their re­lease from prison in Dar es Salaam.

They were ar­rested while pre­par­ing for a case to chal­lenge the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to close drop-in cen­tres that serve peo­ple at risk of con­tract­ing HIV.

Ndashe said they had been in­formed that they were un­der po­lice sur­veil­lance be­fore their ar­rest. “We have been work­ing in Tan­za­nia for the past three years. This is work that started to find ways of hold­ing the state ac­count­able for var­i­ous hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions.

“Ev­ery­one who was in­volved knew that what had hap­pened was un­law­ful and that our de­ten­tion was il­le­gal, in fact, we were held hostage at a po­lice sta­tion. No one could say why we were there. The South African au­thor­i­ties kept on try­ing to get in­for­ma­tion from their coun­ter­parts. The Tan­za­nian of­fi­cials con­stantly failed to pro­vide them with in­for­ma­tion.”

She said the work they were do­ing was le­git­i­mate un­der the Tan­za­nian con­sti­tu­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.