Detained Tanzanian journalist ‘given medical tests’

Top investigative Tanzanian journalist Erick Kabendera, who has been in detention for more than seven weeks, has told a court in Dar es Salaam that he was taken to hospital on Tuesday for tests.

His family and lawyer have expressed concern about his health – he was seen limping into court last week when the court was told that he was also having trouble breathing.

“Yesterday I was able to access medical facility at Amana Hospital where different tests were conducted on both my spine and blood samples were taken,” Mr Kabendera is quoted as saying by Tanzania’s private The Citizen newspaper.

The journalist is facing charges of money laundering, tax evasion and involvement in organised crime.

He has not yet been asked to enter a plea and the charges are considered too serious for him to be granted bail.

After he told the court on Wednesday about the medical tests, the prosecution again asked for more time to continue its investigation.

The case was postponed until 1 October – by which time he will have been in custody for more than two months.

The manner of his arrest and detention has raised concern about media freedom in Tanzania, both locally and internationally.

The US and UK have condemned the handling of his case.

Since Mr Magafuli came to office in 2015, laws overseeing the media have been toughened and a number of newspapers and radio stations have been suspended for “incitement”.

He has often warned about fake news in the wake of articles critical of the government, saying there are limits to press freedom

About Anthony Otushabire

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