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Tanzanian Judiciary Criticized for Holding Bombing Suspect Six Years


A Tanzanian human rights organization has criticized the judiciary for holding a man suspected in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam for six years. The man was released Wednesday.

According to the Dar es Salaam-based Legal and Human Rights Center, bombing suspect Rashid Saleh Hemed should not have been held for six years.

Mr. Hemed was arrested shortly after the 1998 attack in which 11 people were killed. He was initially charged with 11 counts of murder, which were reduced to conspiracy charges.

The country's High Court on Wednesday acquitted and released Mr. Hemed for lack of evidence.

Legal and Human Rights Center executive director Helen Kijo-Bisimba told VOA Mr. Hemed's rights were violated by being in detention for so long.

"People have to be protected. Where a person is suspected, the law should take its course in a reasonable time," she said. "Otherwise it is against people's rights. And of course, nobody will compensate that time he has lost in custody."

Ms. Kijo-Bisimba noted that, under Tanzanian law, a suspect must be released after 60 days if investigations are not completed, except in cases of treason or fraud.