Zanzibar opposition leader questioned on documents
01:08 p.m Jul 09, 1998 Eastern ZANZIBAR, July 9 (Reuters)
Police on Zanzibar questioned the main opposition leader on Thursday as part of an investigation into treason. Seif Shariff Hamad, vice chairman of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF), told Reuters he was summoned before the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and questioned for one hour.
Police questioned the leader over documents found with his aide Hamad Mmanga eight months ago, Seif Shariff Hamad said. He added the documents were not classified but declined to give further details. ``I believe they are just trying to keep me busy and harass me to answer the authorities,'' he said. Hamad was convicted of possessing confidential government documents in 1989 and served a three-year prison sentence. Eighteen CUF members or supporters, including Hamad Mmanga, have been charged with treason.
The CUF members were rounded up after the party defeated the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (Party of the Revolution-CCM) in a byelection on the semi-autonomous Tanzanian islands last November. Zanzibar President Salmin Amour was narrowly reelected in October 1995, but the vote was criticised by diplomats for irregularities and the CUF has refused to accept the result.
On Wednesday, the human rights group Amnesty International issued a public statement calling for the release of those charged with treason. ``(The organisation) considers (the defendants) to be prisoners of conscience imprisoned solely on account of their non-violent opinions and political activities, and is calling on the Tanzanian government to release them unconditionally,'' Amnesty said in a statement.
Zanzibar's twin islands of Unguja and Pemba joined Tanganyika in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania.
Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
The opposition Civic United Front say they will never apologise to be accepted back in the House according to their leader in the house, Abbakar Khamis Bakar. Reacting to speaker's announcement Wednesday that the 24 CUF MPs will only be accepted back to the house after an apology.
Speaker Ameir Kificho made the statement a day after the house voted to suspend CUF legislators indefinitely for their failure to make regular appearances in the house. Bakar said they would not apologise to the House because they believed speaker Kificho had gone "against the constitution and against the house regulations.
The suspension, he added, was a blessing as it would allow them more time for work in their constituencies. CUF boycotted the house since the elections of 1995 which they claim were rigged by the president. Six of the 24 CUF MPs are on treason charges and their case comes up for mention on June 23. Kificho said the 6 would be exempt from the suspension.
A senior opposition leader in Zanzibar was summoned to police headquarters amid fears that he might be implicated in the ongoing Zanzibar treason case according to reports in the local press. A medical doctor turned politician, Dr Juma Muchi, was served with police summons last Friday. But the summons did not specify the reason for being called to report to the police. Dr Muchi was reported to have said that he was ready to honour the order even if he knew the move was part of a series of arrests aimed at prominent members of the main opposition party Civic United Front (CUF). He said he fears that he will be jointly charged with the other suspects like what happened to the CUF legislator for Mkunazini, Juma Haji Duni last Monday.
Another Zanzibari opposition politician arrested
May 12, 1998 Published at 14:47 GMT 15:47
From the newsroom of the BBC World Service
Another member of the Zanzibari political opposition has been arrested and charged with treason. The politician, Juma Duni, who won a seat in a by-election last October, was denied bail when he appeared before a magistrate today. He's the seventeenth member of the opposition Civic United Front to face such charges. The government and opposition of Zanzibar -- a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania -- have been at loggerheads since presidential and legislative elections in 1995. The CUF, which campaigned for greater autonomy for Zanzibar in those elections, disputes the results.
Service Zanzibar court denies bail to treason suspects
11:43 a.m. Mar 31, 1998 Eastern ZANZIBAR, Tanzania, March 31 (Reuters)
A court in Tanzania's Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar denied bail on Tuesday to 16 suspects charged with treason for allegedly plotting to overthrow Zanzibar's president Salmin Amour.
Regional magistrate Jimmy Obeid rejected a request by defence counsel Nassor Khamis to have the case against the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) party activists dismissed. Prosecutor Patrick Biatao told the court his case could not start until suspects staying abroad were arrested and returned to Zanzibar. The case will resume on April 15.
The activists, who include two members of Zanzibar's parliament, were arrested after a by-election last November won by CUF. Zanzibar has faced political turmoil since October 1995 when Amour, of the ruling CCM party, was returned with a wafer-thin majority after an election count deemed highly suspect by diplomats and observers. CUF has refused to accept the result or sit in the island's parliament, while foreign missions have suspended new aid to Zanzibar.
Obeid told the packed court the defence had failed to make a convincing case that there was insufficient prosecution evidence to sustain the treason charge. ``I cannot set free the activists unless you prove your statement that the prosecutor has failed to come up with evidence,'' Obeid said in a ruling read on behalf of Magistrate Abraham Mwampashi.
Zanzibar's twin islands of Unguja and Pemba joined Tanganyika in 1964
to form Tanzania.