We were held hostage at a Tanzanian police station - SA Human Rights lawyer

2017-10-28 16:06
ISLA lawyer Sibongile Ndashe who was arrested in Tanzania for 'promoting homosexuality'. (Supplied)

ISLA lawyer Sibongile Ndashe who was arrested in Tanzania for 'promoting homosexuality'. (Supplied)

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Johannesburg - Tanzanian police and prosecutors asked the courts for an order to perform an anal examination on a South African lawyer and 12 other detained in the country for “promoting homosexuality”.

Human rights lawyer Sibongile Ndashe held a press briefing on Saturday after her deportation from Tanzania. 

She described how she and 12 other human rights activists' had gone through a terrifying ordeal, having to battle legally with the Tanzanian police.

Ndashe said they were being held illegally.

"We were held hostage at a police station. No one could say why we were there, there was no investigation. No one could say what was happening." 

She said the South African police tried to get information on their arrest but the Tanzanians refused to divulge anything. 

Ndashe was in the east African country along with other lawyers to facilitate a workshop on challenging the Tanzanian government’s closure of HIV centres. They were arrested at the Peacock

Hotel in the country’s capital Dar es Salaam more than a week ago.

Same-sex relations are illegal in Tanzania. 

Ndashe said to pursue the spurious charges against the 13 human rights activists, Tanzanian police then turned to the courts to request that the accused undergo an anal exam. 

"The police went to court and applied for an order to do the anal examination on all of us. That application was dismissed because they could not specify an offence. On Wednesday they went back, and that application was dismissed again."

She said after they were released on bail on Thursday, their lawyers were told they would be deported without giving any reasons. 

"When we got to immigration, we still wanted to know what were the reasons for our deportation because the director of public prosecution had said they are not going to prosecute. We were not told. In fact, when we got to immigration, Immigration asked for police to release a letter to explain why we were being deported. The letter came but we were not allowed to see it."

She said they had to make their own arrangement to come back to South Africa.  "We will use the law to respond. We intend to sue for what happened,'' she said.

Ndashe thanked South Africans who had contributed to her release adding that every bit counted.

Read more on:    tanzania

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