State defends arrest of CUF supporters
By DAILY NEWS Reporter in Zanzibar, Daily News
Wed, Apr 26, 2006
THE Union Government Principal State Attorney Abraham Senguji said yesterday that the police had acted in accordance with the law in arresting 18 supporters of Civic United Front, who were charged with treason in 1997.
He told the Isles High Court that the police had to act promptly to arrest the 18 party followers because the treason allegations levelled against them were serious by nature.
Mr Senguji claimed that documents with the Isles police, including letters written to the party regional and district officials, had indicated that there was a plot to overthrow the Isles government and remove from power its president, by the then Dr Salmin Amour.
“The police force made no mistake to arrest the 18 suspects and take them to court to answer the charges,” said the state attorney before Isles High Court Judge Suleiman Kihiyo during the hearing of the suit.
The 18 suspects had in 2000 filed a civil suit against the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Isles Police Commissioner and the Isles Attorney General and wanted a 360m/- in compensation for damages caused to them by the allegations.
This follows a move by the appellant court to dismiss the treason case against them on grounds that a treason could not be committed in Zanzibar because it was not a sovereign state.
Zanzibar lost its sovereignty on April 24, 1964 after merging with Tanganyika to form Tanzania. The case was presided over by Justice Robert Kisanga, the late Judge Kahwa Lugakingira and Judge Augustino Ramadhani.
Mr Senguji, who was cross-examining one of the plaintiffs, Mr Hamad Mmanga, said the law gives mandate for the police to arrest people suspected to be committing such and any other offence.
He asked the court not to entertain the application saying ‘’what the police did was in line with the execution of their obligations.’’
He said the police had to act seriously on the information furnished to them by one of CUF former leaders, Mr Michael Nyaruba, since it could amount to breach of law and insecurity.
Represented by their advocate, Mr Nassor Khamis, the 18 CUF supporters claimed that their three-year detention had psychologically, socially and economically affected them.
Mr Senguji is representing the Inspector General of Police and the Isles Police Commissioner, while Mr Said Hassan and Mr Abdulhakim Ameir represent the Zanzibar Attorney General. The hearing continues tomorrow.