HRF condemns the 5 month prison sentence of two opposition politicians under Tanzania's competitive authoritarian regime

Feb 26, 2018

(Reuters) – A court in Tanzania sentenced two opposition leaders to five months in prison on Monday for insulting President John Magufuli, a decision likely to fuel criticism that authorities are undermining democracy and stifling free speech.

The court in the southern highlands convicted Joseph Mbilinyi, a lawmaker from the main opposition CHADEMA party, and local leader for the party Emmanuel Masonga for using abusive language against the president at a public rally in December.Court documents seen by Reuters show that Mbilinyi was accused of associating Magufuli with an alleged assassination attempt on vocal opposition MP Tundu Lissu last year.

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