The young man has been arrested for reportedly laughing at a throwback photo of John Pombe Magufuli in a short video he shared online which has gone viral and got to the attention of the dreaded African leader known for his high-handedness.
Idris Sultan’s lawyer Benedict Ishabakaki told BBC on Thursday May 21, that he was accused of contravening the Cybercrimes Act 2015 against cyberbullying.
The law based on which the comedian has been arrested states:
“A person shall not initiate or send any electronic communication using a computer system to another person with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass or cause emotional damage.”
Ishabakaki said his comedian client who has been in police custody for two days has been accused of using the internet to harass the President.
"They have not told him till now if he has broken any clause ... but their questioning behavior is related to the video. We hope he can be released on bail today. In short, the police claim Idris used the internet to harass the president,” the lawyer said.
Idris faces paying a fine of not less than Tsh5 million or imprisonment for a term of not less than three years or both if convicted.
His arrest has caused reactions online with a section of Twitter users demanding his release using the hashtag #FreeIdrisSultan.
Reports say this is not the first time Idris has been arrested for ‘toying’ with Magufuli.
In October 2019, he was arrested for photo-shopping President John Pombe Magufuli.
Dar es Salaam Regional Commander Paul Makonda claimed the comedian didn’t know the boundaries of his work, hence overstepping.