Tanzania: Drop trumped-up charges against journalist

Ahead of Tanzanian journalist Erick Kabendera’s next appearance in court on 19 August, when he will be required to enter a plea on charges of leading organized crime and money laundering, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Joan Nyanyuki, said:

The trial of Erick Kabendera is a travesty as the charges brought against him are politically motivated. The charges must be dropped and Kabendera immediately and unconditionally released.
Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International's Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

“The trial of Erick Kabendera is a travesty as the charges brought against him are politically motivated. The charges must be dropped and Kabendera immediately and unconditionally released. He must not be put through one more day of this judicial charade brought against him solely for doing his job.

“Kabendera is a well-respected journalist whose investigations have shed light on the workings of Tanzania’s government both at home and abroad. The outrageous fabricated charges against him show the intolerance of the Tanzanian authorities to any criticism.”

Background

Investigative journalist Erick Kabendera was on 5 August charged with three unbailable offences -  leading organized crime, failure to pay tax amounting to TSh 173m ($75,000), and money laundering -  that he allegedly committed between January 2015 and July 2019 in Dar es Salaam. His lawyer told Amnesty International that he had also been interviewed on an offence of sedition but was not formally charged for that.

Eric Kabendera is currently being held at Segerea maximum security prison in Dar es Salaam. Since his arrest, the authorities have also confiscated his wife’s passport.