Six months behind bars, justice for Tito Magoti and Theodory is yet to be served
It has been six months since Tito Magoti and Theodory Giyani were dramatically arrested and charged with economic crimes. The two young men remain behind bars because the offences they are charged with are unbailable.
On December 20th, 2019, Tito Magoti and Theodory Giyani went missing for almost five hours before the police responded to the public outcry claiming to have arrested them. Under police custody, Magoti and Theodory were denied bail and access to lawyers and family members for almost five days. In the afternoon of the Christmas eve, on December 24th, 2019, Tito and Theodory were brought before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate Court in Dar es Salaam, where they were charged with three offenses in the Economic Organized Crimes Case No. 137 of 2019.
Since then, the case has been mentioned and postponed for more than 13 times pending investigation. From the first mention of the case on January 7th, 2020 the prosecution has been repeatedly assured the court that the investigation was close to completion. During all this time, the court has unsuccessfully urged the prosecution to conclude the investigation to pave way for hearing of the case.
June 23rd, 2020 marks 14th mention of the Tito and Theodory case, with prosecutors repeating the same pledge before the court ‘investigation is at a good stage but not yet completed’. Defence counsels keep asking the court to consider the predicament and suffering of the two innocent young men who, like many other remandees, continue to be the victims of the delays in investigation and prosecution, taking into consideration the fact that the offences they are charged with are unbailable.
Principles of natural justice and criminal laws attest that everyone is innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Delays in the dispensation of justice is a serious human rights concern, affecting rights to liberty and equality before the law; and even the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr. John P. Magufuli, has recently expressed concern over delays in the investigation of cases, causing people to languish in remand prisons.
The case was up for another mention today on June 23rd, 2020 and it has been yet again postponed until July 8th, 2020. As proponents of human rights, we demand that the investigation is completed and the judicial proceedings continue to the next stage, for purposes of justice for Tito and Theodory.