MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Urgent Action - NGO Offices Raided by Police, LEAT President Arrested in Tanzania

Published by MAC on 2001-11-25

Urgent Action - NGO Offices Raided by Police, LEAT President Arrested in Tanzania

25th November 2001

From: Nick Hildyard - written to UK-based & International NGOs

Dear All,

Since our meeting with Lissu, there has been a new - and extremely disturbing - development. On Saturday night (24th November 2001), the Tanzanian police raided the office of the Lawyer's Environmental Action Team, the group for which Lissu works, and arrested LEAT's President Rugemeleza Nshala. As of the time of writing, Mr. Rugemeleza is still in jail. We understand that he is facing sedition charges. The police also searched Lissu's house, turning it upside down.

In what would appear to be an infringement of lawyer-client privilege, the police have apparently seized evidence given to LEAT by its clients - the families of the small scale miners.

The raids follow wide publicity in the Tanzanian press of LEAT's investigation of the Bulyanhulu case. Last Monday (November 19th), LEAT had held a press conference in which it reiterated its call for an International commission of inquiry to investigate the alleged killings at Bulyanhulu in 1996.

The conference came a week after LEAT wrote to the Director of Criminal Investigation telling him that it did not think the police force had any moral authority to re-investigate the killings given their alleged complicity in the crimes. It had also declined to hand over the police videotape which it had obtained unless and until the police provided the information it claimed was available that disproved the
allegations of the killings.

We believe that the police raid is an attempt to intimidate LEAT into silence. LEAT is demanding the immediate release of Mr. Rugemeleza, a demand which we support.

Lissu has asked for the follow support actions:

- Please write to the UK Executive Director at the World Bank. Text from a specimen letter is printed below.

. The fax number is 001 202 623 4965. The letter can also be emailed to: Please copy it to

- Please RING the Tanzanian High Commission. The telephone number is: 207 499 8951 Please also fax a polite protest letter - again a specimin letter can be obtained from Nick Hildyard.

. The fax number is: 0207 491 9321. The web page also gives the following email addresses: and

Thanks for your support,

Best Wishes

Nick Hildyard

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