Press Release *For Immediate Release*
Intimidation of land rights defenders in Tanzania must stop, says international human rights organisation Forest Peoples Programme.
Since 12 July, 18 Maasai elected officials, teachers, activists and community members who have been defending their lands from large-scale foreign safari companies have been arrested by local authorities in Ngorongoro district, northern Tanzania. The Tanzanian government alleges that they pose a threat to national security. Another 52 names are allegedly contained on the list held by police for future arrest.
Many of those arrested were held for more than 10 days without charge, and with no access to legal representation or medical assistance. Four individuals suffered beatings while in custody. A lawyer who attended the police station to defend those arrested was also himself arrested, although later released. Those remaining in custody were charged and released on bail overnight after a national media campaign, and a demonstration by lawyers who boycotted all court activities. A number of individuals targeted for arrest remain in hiding. There are indications that police are still continuing to pursue arrests.
Read the press release in full.