Tanzanian human rights activist, Tito Magoti free after one year in jail

As his lawyer announced on Tuesday, Tanzanian human rights activist Tito Magoti was released from prison after more than a year under a plea bargain for alleged economic crimes.

In December 2019, in Dar es Salaam, Magoti, of the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), was arrested.

After Amnesty slammed his continuing detention as a bid to silence government critics, his case attracted international attention.

He has been accused of multiple economic crimes, including money laundering, possession of a computer program designed to commit an offense, and organized crime.

The prosecution dropped the first two charges and retained the organized crime charges against Magoti and his co-accused, Theodory Giyani, a fellow LHRC member.

After agreeing to plead guilty, the two paid 17 million Tanzanian shillings ($7.300 / 6.000 euros) for their release.

“The two agreed to plead guilty in the plea bargaining,” Kambole posted on Twitter.

“It should be remembered that they have been in detention for more than a year pending investigations,” he said.

The case was postponed 26 times before it entered into plea bargaining on Tuesday, the LHRC said.

According to Nation Africa, Amnesty International called the detention “an affront to justice and a clear attempt to silence government critics by keeping them behind bars.”

President John Magufuli was accused of intimidating the opposition and suppressing democracy and human rights, winning a disputed second term in the October 2020 elections.

Last year, after seven months in detention, journalist Erick Kabendera was also released. He pleaded guilty to plea bargaining over money laundering and tax evasion charges.

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