President Kikwete pledges fair trial for pirates

 
By ROSE ATHUMANI

President Jakaya Kikwete has said that the government of Tanzania will, invariably, carry out fair trial for suspected Somali pirates arrested in the Indian Ocean.

President Jakaya Kikwete (Right) with visiting Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt
President Jakaya Kikwete (Right) with visiting Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt

He noted that the country has a dynamic, independent judiciary. Responding to a question from Journalists at a joint Press Conference with visiting Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, President Kikwete said, however, that despite having an independent judiciary, there was a need for the country to improve prison conditions in conformity with International standards.

Before holding the press conference; President Kikwete and the Danish Prime Minister witnessed the signing of two agreements. The agreements include Conditions and Transfer of Suspected Pirates and armed robbers; Seized Tanzanian property and Amendment and reinstatement of the 1973 agreement between the government of Tanzania and the Royal Danish in respect of Danish volunteer services to accommodate new developments.

President Kikwete noted that the agreement was a landmark, given the fact that Denmark leads in the fight against pirates. He also expressed his appreciation that the agreement would also ensure support in Tanzania’s capacity in courts and prisons.

“A United Nations body says that our prisons are not good. That is why among issues that will be addressed is the need to upgrade our prisons to the standards required. “We are also committed to improving our prisons”, President Kikwete noted, joking that they want five star prisons which we do not have.

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