Tanzanian Comedian Idris Sultan Is Being Held By Police for Face-Swapping Photos of the President
8 November 2019
Playfully photoshopping pictures of the president can apparently get you arrested for a cybercrime.
Popular Tanzanian comedian Idris Sultan was reportedly arrested today in Dar Es Salaam. His crime? Face swapping the president. On Wednesday, Sultan posted two photos to social media—one has President Magufuli's face on the likeness of Sultan's body and the other has Sultan's face on a person sitting in a chair with Tanzania's presidential seal. The post has over 5,000 likes.
President Magufuli celebrated his 60th birthday on Tuesday and Sultan captioned the photos "We swapped roles for a day so that he could enjoy his birthday in peace." According to The Kenyan Star, following the posting of the photos, an Instagram account believed to belong to the city's Regional Commissioner reposted one of them with a caption instructing Sultan to report to any police station in Dar Es Salaam. He did so on Wednesday and relatives say he has not returned since.
Sultan's lawyer informed the BBC that the one-time winner of Big Brother Africa was being held under the Cybercrimes Act. The Act makes it illegal for anyone to impersonate another person digitally. If convicted, Sultan could face up to seven years in prison. Many rights advocates are calling the event an attack on freedom of expression.