NEW YORK (August 27, 2020) – Yesterday, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) submitted a case against Tanzania to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of Theodory Faustine Giyan, a 27-year old software developer from Tanzania who has been unlawfully detained since December 2019. This action is part of HRF’s Impact Litigation program which provides international legal representation to arbitrarily detained prisoners whose cases are emblematic examples of the brutality of dictatorship.
Giyan was handcuffed, blindfolded, and forced into a civilian vehicle without an arrest warrant or any legal basis for his arrest and subsequent detention. He was not immediately informed of the reasons of his arrest, nor was he promptly informed of the charges he was facing. His phone was later used to lure Tito Magoti, a human rights advocate and lawyer, resulting in the detention of Magoti as well. Both Giyan and Magoti were eventually charged with money laundering and organized crime. These charges meant that neither man was eligible for bail and the trial of both men has been delayed several times, such that both remain arbitrarily detained. In reality, the charges are pretextual and Giyan has been detained in retaliation for his association with known government critics and human rights defenders.
Giyan had no physical access to his lawyers from March 2020, when the Tanzanian government banned access due to the COVID-19 pandemic, until very recently. In addition, due to being detained in an overcrowded Tanzanian prison, Giyan’s health remains at serious risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. HRF is calling for Giyan’s immediate release.
The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies. For further comment, please contact [email protected].