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Tanzania judge instructs police to arrest opposition leader

A Tanzanian judge on Thursday urged police to arrest Freeman Mbowe, the chairman of the country's opposition party, Chadema [party website, in Swahili]. Judge Charles Magesa issued arrest warrants for Mbowe and six others last week when they failed to appear in court for a hearing on their case. After Mbowe failed to appear in court or send a representative to explain his absence, Magesa instructed police to arrest him [AFP report] immediately. The case against Magesa stems from an opposition rally in Arusha that occurred on January 5 when three protesters were shot and killed.

On January 5, thousands of protesters gathered [Al Jazeera report] to protest the allegedly fraudulent October re-election of Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete. When Mbowe, along with secretary general Dr. Willibrod Slaa, was arrested and detained, the protest turned violent. Tanzanian police killed two protesters [BBC report] and injured at least nine more.

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