“Unknown Assailants: A Threat to Human Rights”


By Legal Human Rights Centre, on 4 May 2018

This Tanzania Human Rights report of 2017 urgently called for President John Magufuli’s abolishment of the capital sentence in the country.

Tanzania a moratoria country

Tanzania is considered to be an abolitionist state when it comes to death penalty, despite the penalty being recognized as a legal sanction under the Penal Code and continuing to be handed down by courts of law.

Besides that, it should be noted that the last time a people on death row was executed in Tanzania was more than 20 years ago, which is why the country is considered to be in a state of moratorium.  Nevertheless, death sentences continued to exist and be imposed in 2017, despite repeated calls for abolition by human rights activists and stakeholders, including LHRC. 

For instance, as of June 2017, there were 465 death row inmates, 445 male and 20 female.

Amnesty International in its report, in 2016, indicated that 19 death sentences were imposed in Tanzania. For the year 2017 the organisation has not released the figures but LHRC was able to document that at least 15 death sentences through media survey.

Positive note

In 2017, President John Pombe Magufuli declared that he will not sign any death penalty warrant to order execution of death penalty convicts and pardons 61 death row inmates. This is a positive step towards abolition of death penalty in Tanzania in line with the growing worldwide trend against death penalty.

Death penalty as torture

LHRC “commends” and encourage the President and his Government “to go further and take initiative to abolish death penalty as it is a cruel and inhuman punishment that constitutes torture and violates the fundamental right to life”.

More articles