Text Messages accepted as evidence in Tanzania’s court case

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Kisutu Court principal resident magistrate Addy Lyamuya ordered Zain (formerly Celtel) country director to produce before the court a printout of alleged threat messages sent to the editor of MwanaHalisi Mwanahalisi tabloid, Said Kubenea.

Magistrate Lyamuya also ordered the director to appear before the court to explain how mobile phones work and how text messages are sent or received. Earlier, Kubenea had told the court that he had been receiving threat messages on his mobile phone from a Celtel number which he copied down and sent to his lawyer.

He said for about six months from June 13, last year, he received the messages from phone number 0787 775692 but efforts to get a printout from Zain proved futile.

However, he could not produce all threat messages he had received. At that point the prosecution side led by ASP Charles Kenyela asked the court to adjourn the case to allow Kubenea get the messages from Zain under court order.

Six people are charged of assaulting the said editor of the weekly tabloid, MwanaHalisi, on January 5, at his offices situated at Kasaba Street in Kinondoni district.

They are Alex Mwandembele Chusa, 28, a tax driver; Hashim Mdoe ,32; Augustino Joseph,30; a welder Hamis Almas, 25, Alfred Moshi ,64, and Ferdinand Mwenda. During the attack, the accused are alleged to have poured acid on Kubenea's face, causing him suffer serious injuries that led him to undergo medical treatment in India. They are also alleged to have slashed the editor's fellow worker, Ndimara Tegambwane, with a sword on his body.

The Citizen