The Tanzanian Government should Release the twelve arbitrary detained including AMSHeR Board Member and CHESA Director, John KashihaOctober 22, 2017
JOHANNESBURG, October 20, 2017 – The African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR) joins Community Health Services and Advocacy (CHESA), the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa, the Tanzanian Community and the broader Social Justice Movement in condemning the detention of twelve individuals in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
The twelve (lawyers and their clients) were in consultation on how to approach the courts of law to demand access to adequate health services in Tanzania. The human rights defenders were meeting with their lawyers to mount a case before the Tanzanian courts or the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights when individuals in plain clothes invaded the meeting and identified themselves as police officers. Despite presentation of the concept note and agenda for the meeting, the thirteen individuals, including ISLA and CHESA executive directors were taken to the central police station for investigation.
Around 21h30, twelve were granted bail and asked to report to the police station the next day however, CHESA’s director John Kashiha was remanded in police custody and only granted bail on Wednesday.
The three lawyers handling the case secured the bail conditions that required the human rights defenders and lawyers to report to the police once a week, namely every Monday. On Thursday evening, they were advised that instructions had been received from ‘above’ to withdraw the case from the lead investigator who had initially granted the bail and all the thirteen were ordered to report back to the police station on Friday at 8:00 a.m. Sibongile’s laptop which had been seized on Tuesday and returned on Thursday was re-confiscated by the police at 16h30, from her hotel room.
Upon appearance at the police station on Friday, bail for the human rights defenders and lawyers was revoked, their personal belongings registered and taken into custody. Despite endless efforts, the thirteen have not been granted bail and mounting pressure from policy makers suggests that they may well be taken for forced anal examinations.
AMSHeR calls upon all African Human Rights Institutions and the broader social justice movement to rally behind those in detention and demand for their immediate release and remind the Tanzanian government to honour their commitments to uphold the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals as enshrined in their national constitution and other regional and international human rights instruments to which Tanzania is party.
Said Berry Didier Nibogora, AMSHeR’s acting Executive Director, ‘AMSHeR unequivocally denounces the police violence in Tanzania – we are and remain in solidarity with the incarcerated twelve and the Tanzanian Community – we are outraged by the blatant assault to the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals by the state on account of their real or imputed sexual orientation and gender identity. It is an unfortunate irony that a state which has ratified key human rights instruments and made several commitments can illegally detain individuals without charge under the pretext of conducting an ‘investigation’ for a non-existent offence – Tanzania has nobler causes to fight other than the institution of a witch-hunt against those who attempt to access judicial institutions for redress using tax payers’ money.’
To read CHESA and ISLA’s statement and call to action, please follow this link https://www.amsher.org/statement-unlawful-detention-tanzanian-activists-lawyers/
AMSHeR is a Pan-African coalition of MSM and LGBT-led organisations, working to promote non-discrimination, particularly based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) and to advance access to quality health services for MSM/LGBT in Africa. As an advocacy and capacity strengthening organisation AMSHeR provides a platform for exchange and learning among MSM/LGBT community-based organisations, human rights and HIV service organisations, and other agencies working with and for MSM/LGBT organisations.
In addition to bringing about visibility and addressing human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) and barriers to access quality health services, AMSHeR advocates for increased resources, community leadership and strengthening of community structures and capacity to address these issues. AMSHeR and its membership engages in advocacy at national, continental and global levels on legal and policy reform human rights accountability and service delivery.
Communications and Media Advocacy Manager