The case of Maxence Melo versus the Republic of Tanzania has widened as police are now seeking to charge his business partner as well.
As Melo, the public face of social platform JamiiForums, appeared in court on Monday morning (January 16) his business partner Mike Mushi was being interrogated at Central Police Station.
Speaking to Dar Post, Mushi says police intend to add him to Melo’s cases and charge him as well.
Melo is charged with three counts of obstruction under the cybercrime act and also faces a charge for failing to manage and use a .co.tz domain name.
The obstruction charges stem from Melo refusing to divulge user data from his website, which is regularly used by whistleblowers.
“We are facing a strong attack on the media. We need to protect our online freedom and our freedom of expression. And let’s protect whistleblowers whether online or offline,” says Melo.
“The suspect has been neglecting to abide by lawful orders of law enforcement agencies. The police force and any law enforcement agency under the law are entitled to get the information,” says Johannes Kalungura, the principal legal counsel for the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority.
Various media and human rights groups condemned Melo’s long detention; Tanzanian law requires charges be laid within 24 hours.