• Short Summary

    Nineteen men arrested in Zanzibar in August last year and charged with plotting to overthrow the government have been sentenced to death.

  • Description

    Nineteen men arrested in Zanzibar in August last year and charged with plotting to overthrow the government have been sentenced to death.

    This was revealed on Sunday (9 May) by Zanzibar's President, Sheikh Abeid Karume, who he addressed a crowd of thousands at a rally where the prisoners were put on public display.

    Despite a lack of cooperation from Zanzibar authorities, Visnews cameraman P.S. Toulmin - Rothe managed to shoot this film of Sheikh Karume and the prisoners at the rally.

    SYNOPSIS: Zanzibar President Sheikh Abeid Karume announced at a large rally on Sunday that he had given the death sentence to the nineteen men arrested last year and accused of plotting to overthrow his Government. He told a crowd of several thousand that the men would be shot.

    Only the previous week, at a May Day rally, the President had confirmed that armed counter-revolutionaries had been arrested some six months ago. On Sunday, the crowd heard that the five ringleaders among the nineteen were all of Arab descent, and had left Zanzibar in 1964. It was in that year that the former Arab sultanate was overthrown in a bloody revolution which brought Sheikh Karume and his revolutionary council to power.

    On Sunday, the prisoners were brought out and shown to a hostile crowd, who had also been shown the weapons said to belong to them. Apparently the men were seized last September by security forces after smuggling arms and ammunition into Zanzibar. One of the alleged ringleaders, Salum Saif, is said to have accompanied the Zanzibar Sultan to London after the 1964 revolution. Armed troops had to keep a section of the crowd away from the handcuffed Said and his fellow prisoners.

    It is alleged that the prisoners have confessed to being supported in their coup attempt by the Governments of the United States, Britain and Kenya, but Sheikh Karume told the crowd that he did not believe this. Kenya Foreign Minister Dr. Njoroge Mungai has since stated that his country had on knowledge of this attempt. In a speech to the thousands at the rally, President Karume said there would be no pardon for the plotters and endorsed the death sentences. The crowd roared their approval and support.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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