Urgent Interventions

Arbitrary detention of Mr. Tito Magoti, Mass Education Officer at the Legal and Human Rights Center (LHRC)

TZA 001 /1219 / OBS 113

Arbitrary detention /

Judicial harassment


December 26, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human RightsDefenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT),requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Tanzania.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Legal andHuman Rights Center (LHRC) about the arbitrary detention and judicialharassment faced by Mr. Tito Magoti, Mass Education Officer at the LHRC.

According to the information received, on December20, 2019, around 10:30 am, Mr. Tito Magoti was arrested by five unknown peopleat Mwenge, Dar es Salaam. Between December 20 and 22, 2019, police confirmedMr. Magoti's arrest and detention, without indicating the charges against himor his whereabouts. The police reportedly questioned him about his onlineactivism on Twitter, where he regularly reports on issues related to humanrights, the rule of law, and good governance, as well as his relationship withseveral leading online activists and opposition voices. During hisinterrogation, he had no access to his lawyers.

On December 24, 2019, Mr. Magoti was brought beforethe Resident Magistrate’s Court of Dar es Salaam and charged with "leadingorganised crime" (para. 4(1)(a) of the First Schedule and Sections 57(1)and 60(2) of the Economic and Organized Crimes Control Act), "possessionof a computer program designed for the purpose of committing an offence"(Section 10(1)(&) of the Cyber Crimes Act) and "money laundering"(Sections 12(d) and 13(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act).

As of issuing this Urgent Appeal, Mr. Magotiremained detained at Segerea Remand Prison. His next hearing is scheduled forJanuary 7, 2020 before the Resident Magistrate’s Court of Dar es Salaam.

The Observatory expresses its utmost concern overthe arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Mr. Tito Magoti, which seemsto be merely aiming at sanctioning his human rights activities.

The Observatory urges the Tanzanian authorities torelease him immediately and unconditionally, drop all charges against him, andensure that all judicial proceedings are carried out in full compliance withhis right to a fair trial as protected under international law.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Tanzania askingthem to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical andpsychological integrity of Mr. Tito Magoti as well as of all human rightsdefenders in Tanzania;

ii. Release Mr. Tito Magoti immediately andunconditionally, since his detention is arbitrary as it seems to be merelyaimed at sanctioning his human rights activities;

iii.Ensure in all circumstances Mr. Magoti’s unhindered access to a lawyer of hischoice;

iv. End all forms of harassment, including at thejudicial level, against Mr. Magoti as well as against all human rightsdefenders in Tanzania, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able tocarry out their work without any hindrance or fear of reprisals;

v. Comply with all the provisions of the UNDeclaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations GeneralAssembly on December 9, 1998, in particular with its Articles 1, 6 and 12.2;

vi. More generally, ensure in all circumstancesrespect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance withinternational and regional human rights instruments ratified by Tanzania.


· President of Tanzania, Hon. Dr. John PombeJoseph Magufuli Fax: +255 22 2113425; E-mail: ikulu@ikulu.go.tz

· Prime Minister of Tanzania,Rt. Hon. Kassim Majaliwa Fax: +255 22 2112850; E-mail: ps@pmo.go.tz

· Ministry of Foreign Affairsand East African Cooperation, Hon. Dkt. Augustine Mahiga Fax: +255 (0)22 226600

· Embassyof Tanzania in Brussels, Belgium, Fax (0032) (0) 2 646 80 26; Email: tanzania@skynet.be

· PermanentRepresentative of the United Republic of Tanzania to the United Nations,
Geneva and Vienna, Fax: +41 22 732 82 55; Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic representationsof Tanzania in your respective countries.


Paris-Geneva, December 26, 2019

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quotingthe code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human RightsDefenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and OMCT. The objectiveof this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression againsthuman rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu,the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented byinternational civil society.

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