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Abduction of human rights defender Abdul Nondo

Status: 
Released on bail
About the situation

On 26 March 2018, Abdul Nondo was granted bail by Iringa Resident Magistrate Court and subsequently released. The preliminary hearing in the case took place on 10 April 2018 and the trial started on 18 April 2018. The next hearing is 23 April 2018. Abdul was detained by the Director of Criminal Investigation in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. He had been abducted by unknown assailants on 7 March before being freed the following day in a remote area 500km from where he was taken.

About the HRD

hrd_abdul_nondo.jpegAbdul Nondo is a human rights defender and Chairperson of Tanzania Students’ Networking Programme (TSNP). He is also a third year student at the University of Dar Es Salaam. TSNP is a non-governmental organisation based in Dar Es Salaam which works with students on capacity building and advocacy programmes to enable them to advocate at the local, national and international levels to promote human rights and democracy. Most recently, Abdul Nondo has been particularly critical of the police and the Tanzanian authorities regarding the extra-judicial killing of a student at a rally on 17 February 2018

23 March 2018
Human rights defender Abdul Nondo charged and remains in detention

UPDATE: On 26 March 2018, Abdul Nondo was granted bail by Iringa Resident Magistrate Court and subsequently released. The preliminary hearing in the case took place on 10 April 2018 and the trial started on 18 April 2018. The next hearing is 23 April 2018

On 21 March 2018, Abdul Nondo was charged on two counts after being detained by police since 8 March 2018.

Abdul Nondo is a human rights defender and Chairperson of Tanzania Students’ Networking Programme (TSNP). He is also a third year student at the University of Dar Es Salaam. TSNP is a non-governmental organisation based in Dar Es Salaam which works with students on capacity building and advocacy programmes to enable them to advocate at the local, national and international levels to promote human rights and democracy. Most recently, Abdul Nondo has been particularly critical of the police and the Tanzanian authorities regarding the extra-judicial killing of a student at a rally on 16 February 2018.

On 21 March 2018, Abdul Nondo was transported by police from Dar Es Salaam and taken to the Resident Magistrate Court in Iringa as this was where he reported the abduction he had been subjected to by unidentified persons just one day prior to his detention by police. The human rights defender was charged on two counts: “publication of false information” contrary to Section 16 of the Cyber Crimes Act, No. 14 of 2015 and “giving false information to the person employed in the public service”, contrary to Section 122 (a) of the Penal Code.

Abdul Nondo had been abducted by unknown assailants on 7 March before being released in a remote area 500km from where he was taken the following day. He alerted his friends to his abduction by sending a WhatsApp message saying “I am at risk”.

On 8 March 2018, Abdul Nondo reached a police station in Iringa to call his family and let them know his whereabouts. The human rights defender was not allowed to leave the police station in Iringa and was transported to Dar Es Salaam to be detained by the Director of Criminal Investigations. Neither his family nor his lawyers have been allowed to visit him.

The police are claiming that Abdul Nondo was not in fact abducted but went to Iringa to visit his girlfriend and that sending the private WhatsApp message to his friend was intended to deceive the public. The court will make a decision about granting Abdul Nondo bail on 26 March 2018.

Other members of TSNP have also been harassed by police and were required to report to the police station on 14 March 2018 for questioning. On 15 November 2017, Director of the Law Department at TSNP, Bob Chacha Wangwe, was sentenced to 1.5 years’ imprisonment or a fine of 5 million Tanzanian shillings by Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar Es Salaam. The human rights defender had been found guilty of “publication of false information” under Section 16 of the Cybercrimes Act 2015 in relation to comments he had posted on Facebook questioning the respect of procedures in the 2015 elections in Zanzibar. He is currently appealing his sentence.

Front Line Defenders expresses serious concern at the detention of Abdul Nondo as it believes it is part of a larger pattern of harassment against human rights defenders in Tanzania.

14 March 2018
Abdul Nondo detained by police following abduction

Human rights defender Abdul Nondo has been detained for seven days by the Director of Criminal Investigation in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. He had been abducted by unknown assailants on 7 March before being released in a remote area 500km from where he was taken the following day.

Abdul Nondo is a human rights defender and Chairperson of Tanzania Students’ Networking Programme (TSNP). He is also a third year student at the University of Dar Es Salaam. TSNP is a non-governmental organisation based in Dar Es Salaam which works with students on capacity building and advocacy programmes to enable them to advocate at the local, national and international levels to promote human rights and democracy. Most recently, Abdul Nondo has been particularly critical of the police and the Tanzanian authorities regarding the extra-judicial killing of a student at a rally on 16 February 2018.

On 8 March 2018, Abdul Nondo reached a police station in Iringa to call his family and let them know his whereabouts. The previous day, the human rights defender had been abducted by unknown assailants and taken over 500km away from Dar Es Salaam and left in a secluded area in Iringa, southern Tanzania. His friends were alerted to his abduction when he texted them saying ‘I am at risk’ on the evening of 7 March 2018.

The human rights defender was not allowed to leave the police station in Iringa and was transported to Dar Es Salaam to be detained by the Director of Criminal Investigations. Neither his family nor his lawyers have been allowed to visit him and police are claiming that Abdul Nondo was not in fact abducted but went to Iringa to visit his girlfriend.

No charges have yet been announced against the human rights defender. His lawyers are currently filing a habeas corpus petition in order to compel the police to bring Abdul Nondo before a judge in line with international human rights standards. Other members of TSNP have also been harassed by police and were required to report to the police station on 14 March 2018 for questioning. 

Front Line Defenders expresses serious concern at the detention of Abdul Nondo as it believes it is part of a larger pattern of harassment against human rights defenders in Tanzania.

8 March 2018
Abduction of human rights defender Abdul Nondo

On 7 March 2018, human rights defender Abdul Nondo was abducted from Dar Es Salaam by unknown assailants and taken to a secluded area in Iringa, southern Tanzania around 500km from the place of his abduction.

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On 8 March 2018, Abdul Nondo managed to reach a police station in Iringa to call his family and let them know his whereabouts. The human rights defender had been taken over 500km away from Dar Es Salaam and left in a secluded area in Iringa, southern Tanzania.

Front Line Defenders expresses deep concern at the deteriorating climate for human rights defenders in Tanzania, which has been highlighted in a statement by the EU Delegation in Tanzania. Following the election of President John P. Magafuli in 2015, human rights defenders, journalists and opposition leaders have been targeted with judicial harassment, intimidation and violence. Front Line Defenders recently reported on the killing of human rights defender Godrey Luena on 22 February 2018, who was attacked and killed outside of his home in Morogoro region.

This is also not the first time that a member of TSNP has been targeted for their human rights work. On 15 November 2017, human rights defender Bob Chacha Wangwe was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment or a fine of 5 million Tanzanian shillings by Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court  in Dar Es Salaam. The human rights defender was arrested on 7 May 2016 and detained for twelve days before being released on bail awaiting trial. Bob Chacha Wangwe had posted comments on Facebook questioning the respect of democratic procedures in the 2015 elections in Zanzibar. He is currently appealing his sentence.

Front Line Defenders expresses serious concern at the abduction of Abdul Nondo as it believes it is part of a larger pattern of harassment against human rights defenders in Tanzania.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Tanzania to:

1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the abduction of human rights defender Abdul Nondo, with a view to ensuring his protection, publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Tanzania are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.