Amnesty International urges Tanzania to drop charges against comedian

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The human rights campaign group, Amnesty International, has urged Tanzania to drop charges against a comedian linked to a viral social media post two months ago.

“It is a travesty that Idris Sultan is being subjected to judicial persecution simply for exercising his right to freedom of expression. Laughing is not a crime,” Amnesty’s director for East and Southern Africa Deprose Muchena said in a statement.

He added: “It is evident that the Tanzanian authorities do not have a case against Idris Sultan and are simply out to harass him because his humour offended them. The court must throw out the trumped-up charges against him.”

The comedian and reality TV star was arrested in May after he posted a video on social media of himself laughing at an old photo of President John Magufuli wearing an oversized suit.

The police then questioned him for allegedly violating the country’s controversial Cybercrimes Act.

The comedian is set to be arraigned in court a second time on Thursday for “failure to register a Sim card previously owned by another person” and “failure to report change of ownership of a Sim card”.

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