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Dar court sends opposition leaders to jail



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A Dar es Salaam magistrate revoked the bails of opposition leader Freeman Mbowe and his party MP Esther Matiko and ordered them remanded Friday.

Kisutu Resident Magistrate Wilbard Mashauri said the two were in contempt of court for failing to show up for hearing.

Mr Mbowe and Ms Matiko along with seven others are charged with sedition, incitement to violence and holding an illegal demonstration in February that led to the death of a female student, who was killed by a police stray bullet.

Mr Mbowe, the opposition Chadema chairman, skipped court twice early this month, while the Tarime Urban MP failed to show up once.

Mr Mashauri said Mr Mbowe and his lawyer Peter Kibatala gave conflicting accounts of why the opposition leader was not in court.

The judge said Mr Kibatala had told the court that his client had fallen ill and flown to South Africa for treatment, while according to Mr Mbowe’s statement, he had travelled to Washington DC but could not travel back in time for court after he was taken ill.

Ms Matiko claimed to have been on a parliamentary tour in Burundi as reason she did not appear in court.

“Our country is led by laws and the law requires any defendant regardless of his or her position to abide by court order,” Mr Mashauri said.

Mr Mbowe’s lawyer said his client will seek an appeal on the bail revocation.

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