Crime & Justice

Australian woman activist arrested in Tanzania over social media post

Sydney, Australia, Jan 4 (efe-epa).- An Australian activist, who has renounced her Islamic faith and now campaigns for women’s rights, has been arrested and charged in Tanzania over a social media post.

The activist had criticized the president of the African country for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

A Foreign Ministry official told EFE on Monday that they had provided consular assistance to an Australian national in Tanzania.

However, the ministry avoided giving more details about the identity of the person to respect privacy.

Local media and an organization of ex-Muslims said the detainee is Zara Kay, a Tanzania-born Australian, who founded the organization Faithless Hijabi in 2018.

Kay often publishes scathing and satirical social media comments against Islam.

Tanzanian authorities on Dec 28 called Kay to appear before a police station in Dar-es-Salaam, the former Tanzanian capital.

Police detained her for 32 hours before she was allowed to walk free on bail.

The authorities have also confiscated the Australian passport of the activist.

Kay is accused of criticizing Tanzania President John Magufuli in a satirical post in May when she was in London.

The post addressed the handling of Covid-19 in Tanzania, according to the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.

She is also accused of not returning her Tanzanian passport after gaining Australian citizenship, but the CEMB said she had misplaced the Tanzanian passport.

The Tanzanian authorities accuse her of using a SIM-card not registered in her name, according to the CEMB.

The council has launched a campaign to urge the Tanzanian authorities to drop the charges against Kay and let her leave the country.

“We believe these charges are politically motivated and initiated by those from the Khoja Shia Ithnasheri Jamaat (a Shiite Muslim group) who have threatened Zara with death for leaving Islam and for her activism in support of ex-Muslims and women.” EFE-EPA


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