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An international lawyer is added to Tanzanian opposition leader Freeman Mbowe’s defense counsel

Tanzanian main opposition party (CHADEMA) chair, Mr Freeman Mbowe, has added an international lawyer to his defense counsel in a move that will help him issue filings before a variety of international bodies. The lawyer, Robert Amsterdam, a founding partner of Amsterdam & Partners LLP, confirmed Monday through his firm’s blog that he will work in coordination with the local defense counsel representing Mbowe.

“We condemn the brazenly criminal conduct of the regime of President Samia Suluhu Hassan with these politically motivated charges against Mbowe…As we’ve already seen a judge recusal and direct comments by the President interfering in the case and tainting prospects of fair trial, it is abundantly clear to the international community that this is an authoritarian farce, not a judicial process.” Said lawyer, Robert Amsterdam.

The arrest of Mr Mbowe and several others took place July this year at approximately 2:30AM in a hotel in the northwestern port city of Mwanza, the night before he and party members were set to host a public forum on constitutional reform. Mbowe was held in an undisclosed location beyond the reach of counsel for weeks and allegedly subjected to torture, before appearing in court for the first time on Friday, August 6, on terrorism related charges.

Mr Amsterdam says that his firm will work closely with Mbowe’s local defense counsel, Mr Peter Kibatala and Mr John Mallya.

“We will ensure there are consequences for the Hassan regime for this egregious violation of Tanzania’s international commitments, while seeking accountability to all public servants who make themselves complicit in the government’s unlawful conduct…” said Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is a lawyer and an advocate for the rule of law. His firm, Amsterdam &
Partners LLP, also represents Tundu Lissu, the vice chair of CHADEMA, who competed in the 2020 presidential elections and who was also nearly killed in an assassination attempt, among other opposition figures in the region such as Uganda’s National Unity Platform party leader, Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine).