Tanzania drops terrorism case against opposition leader Mbowe

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Tanzania Chadema party chairperson Freeman Mbowe
Tanzania Chadema party chairperson Freeman Mbowe
Ericky Boniphace

A Tanzanian court on Friday ordered the release of opposition leader Freeman Mbowe and three other defendants after the prosecution dropped terrorism charges against them.

"Because the (prosecution) has submitted an intention to drop the case and the defence side has accepted it, the case is now removed from the court and I order the suspects to be released unconditionally," said judge Joachim Tiganga.

"They should be released from jail immediately."

Mbowe, chairperson of the Chadema party, was arrested in July along with a number of other senior party officials just hours before they were to hold a public forum to demand constitutional reforms in the East African country.

He and three others were charged with terrorism financing and conspiracy.

His supporters had branded the case as a politically motivated move to crush dissent, and Mbowe has accused police of torturing him during his nearly seven months in custody.

"We have no intention to continue with the case," state prosecutor Robert Kidando told the court.


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