Popular Tanzanian comedian and 2014 Big Brother Africa winner, Idris Sultan has been arrested for reportedly laughing at a throwback photo of President of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli in a short video he shared online.
His lawyer Benedict Ishabakaki told BBC on Thursday May 21, that he was accused of contravening the Cybercrimes Act 2015 against cyberbullying.
The law states that: “A person shall not initiate or send any electronic communication using a computer system to another person with intent to coerce, intimidate, harass or cause emotional damage.”
Ishabakaki said they are now awaiting the arraignment of Idris who has been in police custody for two days and accused of using the internet to harass the President
“They have not told him till now if he has broken any clause … but their questioning behavior is related to the video. We hope he can be released on bail today. In short, the police claim Idris used the internet to harass the president.” Ishabakaki said.
If convicted of the charges levelled against him, Idris faces paying a fine of not less than Tsh5 million or imprisonment for a term of not less than three years or both.
This is however not the first time he has been arrested. In October 2019, he was arrested for photo-shopping President John Pombe Magufuli. While summoning Idris, Dar es Salaam Regional Commander Paul Makonda claimed the comedian didn’t know the boundaries of his work.
Idris’ recent arrest has drawn furore from a section of Twitter users who demanded his release via the hashtag #FreeIdrisSultan.