Treatment of Civic United Front (CUF) members who attended to observe treason trial of CUF members on 19 and 20 January 2000; including whether beaten, tear-gassed and/or arrested, and whether court room was videotaped [TZA35161.E]

No reports on the treatment of those CUF members who attended court proceedings as observers on 19, 20 January 2000 could be found among the sources consulted at the Research Directorate.

However, on 19 January 2000 police clashed with opposition supporters outside of the courthouse, resulting in injuries and arrests (AFP 19 Jan. 2000; AI 27 Jan. 2000; Article 19 Apr. 2000; AP 27 Jan. 2000). Amnesty International reported that CUF supporters were tear-gassed, beaten and several were injured and "about" 15 were arrested (27 Jan. 2000). Other reports stated that 29 people were injured and 40 arrested (AFP 19 Jan. 2000; AP 27 Jan. 2000), while Article 19 reported that "seventy people were reportedly badly injured by heavily armed police in full riot gear and forty persons were arrested" (Apr. 2000). The Assistant Commissioner of Police claimed that fourteen of those injured were policemen (AFP 19 Jan. 2000; Xinhua 22 Jan. 2000) while Amnesty International and Global Frontiers later put the number of police injured at two (27 Jan. 2000; 21 Apr. 2000).

AFP, providing further details of the day, reported that,

The clashes started at the Zanzibar High Court, shortly after riot police intervened to disperse the crowd following the adjournment to January 27 of the treason trial...
Abdallah [Assistant Commissioner of Police] said that by Wednesday evening, about 40 people had been arrested in connection with the riots, but was quick to add that the situation there was now clam, and appealed to people to "avoid acts of violence."
Senior CUF official, Mohamed Ali Yussuf, however, described the situation as unfortunate and blamed the police for starting it all.
"They provoked people who went to the court to hear the proceedings. Many people, including relatives of the accused person, went to the court, but the place was filled with plainclothes policemen, who were allowed in the chamber," Yussuf said.
"The people started to complain and the police threatened them and used tear gas. In retaliation the people started throwing stones at the police," he added (19 Jan. 2000).

Information on whether the court room was videotaped could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, an article found on the Website Global Frontiers suggests that clashes between opposition supporters and police outside of the court house were videotaped (21 Apr. 2000). The article states

Mangula [Secretary General of the ruling party, CCM] also showed footage of 19 January riots when the Zanzibar treason trial came for hearing and later captured the sordid images of the ghastly wounded two policemen who were recently attacked by alleged CUF members in Zanzibar.
After the video tape ran in play-back for about 10 minute, Mangula pushed the stop button and declared that CCM would use the tape as evidence marked "Exhibit A", to show the world of the true colours of CUF leaders and what they stood for.

This information could not be corroborated within the time constraints of this Information Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please see the list of additional sources consulted in researching this information request.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 19 January 2000. "Zanzibar Treason Trial Adjourned to January 27." (NEXIS)

Amnesty International (AI). 27 January 2000. "Zanzibar Opposition Figures Face Treason Trial and Death Sentences." AFR 56/04/00. [Accessed 28 July 2000]

Article 19 (A19) [London]. April 2000. Democracy on Shaky Foundations. [Accessed 31 July 2000]

Associated Press (AP). 27 January 2000. "Judge Grants Another Postponement of Treason Trial to Feb. 28." (NEXIS)

Global Frontiers. 21 April 2000. Fumbuka Ng'wakilala. "CCM Hits at International Community for 'Favouring' CUF." [Accessed 8 Aug. 2000]

Xinhua General News Service. 22 January 2000. "Tanzania Denies Blocking Arrest of Key Suspects in Zanzibar Treason Trial." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Confidential

Africa Research Bulletin

Indian Ocean Newsletter

IRB Databases

World News Connection

Internet sites including:

Civic United Front

The Express Online

The Guardian

Human Rights Watch


Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)

OneWorld Africa

Pan African News Agency

Post Express Wired