Justice for Zara Kay

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Zara Kay, an Australian citizen and founder of Faithless Hijabi, was summoned to the Dar es-Salaam Oysterbay Police Station on 28 December 2020 and was held in police custody for 32 hours without an initial clear indication of charges.

Zara is a well-known ex-Muslim and women’s rights activist. Faithless Hijabi, which she founded in 2018, supports women who have been ostracised or abused for leaving Islam. Whilst in police custody, Zara was asked about the work of her organisation and why she left Islam.

Zara was bailed on 29 December 2020 and told to return to the police station on 31 December. Her passport was also confiscated. This morning, at the police station, Zara was given permission to return on Tuesday 5 January 2021 with her lawyer. This is because stress caused by her initial police custody exacerbated Zara’s underlying health condition.  Late last night, Zara had to go to the local hospital where doctors reiterated her diagnosis of Generalised Anxiety Disorder.

THE CHARGES AGAINST HER REMAIN AS FOLLOWS:

1) Social media post deemed to be critical of the president of Tanzania (these light satirical posts were posted in May when Zara was in London, addressing the handling of Covid-19 in Tanzania)

2) Not returning her Tanzanian passport after gaining Australian citizenship (she never returned her Tanzanian passport as she misplaced and never used it after gaining Australian citizenship)

3) Using a SIM-card not registered in her name (this was registered in a family member’s name). Failure to register SIM-cards legislation has been used to persecute other high-profile cases.

We believe these charges are politically motivated and initiated by those from the Khoja Shia Ithnasheri Jamaat who have threated Zara with death for leaving Islam and for her activism in support of ex-Muslims and women.

CALL TO ACTION:

This petition calls on the Tanzanian government to immediately drop all the charges against Zara Kay and allow her to leave the country. The constitution of Tanzania enshrines secularism as a state principle and recognises freedom of expression and of conscience. We also call on the Australian authorities to intervene and get Zara home to safety.