A court in Tanzania has charged an investigative journalist with money laundering, tax evasion and assisting a criminal racket.
However, Erick Kabandera’s lawyer insists that the charges are politically motivated.
Kabandera, who has written for national and international publications, including The Guardian and The Times of London, was arrested at his home in Dar es Salaam last week.
He was initially brought in over his citizenship status but Monday afternoon, a court handed organized crime charges as well as the aforementioned tax evasion and money laundering charges according to a charge sheet seen by Reuters.
Kabandera’s arrest has raised concerns about media freedom in Tanzania, both locally and internationally with many saying Kabandera’s arrest is just another attack on press freedom.
Since being elected, President John Magufuli has shut down newspapers, banned opposition rallies, switched off live broadcasts of parliamentary sessions and used the cybercrimes law to jail critics.
Reporters Without Borders, which labels Magufuli a “press freedom predator”, has joined a chorus of local and international rights groups calling for Kabandera’s immediate release.