A Tanzanian comedian, Sultan Idris, was detained by police for mocking a throwback photo of the president via social media, his lawyers confirmed to the BBC.

A recent video clip showed him laughing at an old photograph of President Magufuli, wearing an over-sized suit. The photo has been making the rounds on Tanzania’s social media space in the past weeks.

According to his lawyer Benedict Ishabakaki, Sultan Idris was detained on Tuesday (May 19) and as at Thursday had still been denied bail. He was officially questioned on Thursday for allegedly violating the country’s Cybercrimes Act, the lawyer added.

“They are questioning him for allegedly contravening section 23 of the act. In a nutshell, they [the police] are accusing him of bullying the president through that video clip. “But I strongly believe, as a comedian, my client is only doing satire, and satire can be political as well,” Mr Ishabakaki told the

The contravened section of the law states that a person shall not: “initiate or send any electronic communication using a computer system to another person with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass or cause emotional distress.”

He risks three-year imprisonment or a fine of 5 million Tanzanian shillings (about $2,200) – or both if convicted. Only seven months ago he was arrested under the same law for ‘swapping seats’ with the President on Twitter during Magufuli’s birthday. Reports say he was later released without charge.

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