Call for the release human rights defender Mohamed Mchangama in Comoros

February 17, 2015

The New York based Human Rights Foundation on 11 February 2015 called on the government of the Comoros to release Mohamed Said Abdallah Mchangama, President of the Federation of Comorian Consumers (FCC).
HRF to the Comoros: Release Activist Mohamed Mchangama and Drop Incitement Charges Against Him

Mchangama is one of the leaders of the “Madji Na Mwendje” (power and water) movement, formed by the FCC and other civil society organizations to protest the government’s inability to resolve the frequent power blackouts and water shortages plaguing the island. The movement called on all Comorian civil society groups to engage in a three-day general strike scheduled for February 9-11. The Sunday before the strike was set to start, Mchangama was summoned to appear at the police station of Moroni where he was immediately arrested and is currently being held.

Civil society leaders like Mchangama are a threat to competitive authoritarian regimes because of their ability to channel people’s frustration at corrupt and incompetent governments. By arresting him, the government seeks to quash a legitimate demand from hundreds of thousands of Comorians living below the poverty line. He must be released immediately,” said Thor Halvorssen, president of the Human Rights Foundation. “We have seen similar instances of repressing freedom of expression in the region. In Burundi, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa was arrested for criticizing the ruling party during a radio interview; and in Swaziland Thulani Maseko and Bhaki Makubu were both arrested for questioning the independence of the judicial system. These are all legitimate concerns in any democratic society. It is these abusive governments that are at fault here, not the people,” said Halvorssen.

For more information contact: Jamie Hancock at jamie[at]thehrf.org or see the original piece:

HRF to the Comoros: Release Activist Mohamed Mchangama and Drop Incitement Charges Against Him | News | The Human Rights Foundation.

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