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Tanzania opposition leaders granted bail

Tanzania opposition leaders granted bail


Seven opposition leaders in Tanzania were freed on bail on Thursday following their arrest last week.

The Chadema party politicians are facing charges of sedition and incitement to violence and will reappear in court on 16 April.

They were also charged with taking part in an illegal demonstration in Dar es Salaam in February that led to the death of a student, who was allegedly killed by a stray bullet while police engaged in a street battle with rioters.

The opposition leaders, four of whom are members of parliament, had been detained at a remand prison before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate Court granted them bail.

As part of the bail conditions, the seven opposition politicians have to report to the central police station in Dar es Salaam every Friday.

The politicians include the Chadema chairperson, Freeman Mbowe, the party’s secretary general and the chairperson of the women’s wing.

“We used to think this country has a petty dictatorship but now this country has a full dictatorship. We’ll talk and clarify more at the right time,” Mbowe told journalists.

The opposition says tolerance for dissent has diminished rapidly since president John Magufuli took office in late 2015 with pledges to reform the East African nation and curb corruption.

The United States, European Union and several Western embassies last month voiced concern over politics-related violence and allegations of human rights abuses.

Magufuli’s government denies cracking down on the opposition and stifling freedom of expression.

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