Tanzanian opposition figure Freeman Mbowe released

Tanzania has released the leader of the main opposition party, Freeman Mbowe, after prosecutors dropped terrorism charges against him last year, his party said.
Mbowe, who is the chairman of the Chadema party, was arrested in July in the town of Mwanza while attending a conference on proposals for a new constitution.
He was charged in court on July 26, despite protests from his party that the charges against him were politically motivated.
“The director of prosecution dropped the charges of economic crimes and terrorism,” the Chadema party said on its Twitter account. Three co-accused were also released, the party said.
Supporters of Freeman Mbowe, who had gathered outside the court to watch the trial, applauded after the decision to drop the charges was announced, while his lawyers rejoiced.
The detention of the opposition leader had raised questions about President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s commitment to greater tolerance of political dissent.
Ms. Hassan, who took power after the death of her predecessor John Magufuli in March last year, lifted the ban on four newspapers and met with the main opposition leader in exile in Brussels last month, raising hopes for greater tolerance of political dissent.
“Today’s dismissal of the case against Freeman Mbowe is a welcome opportunity for Tanzania to turn the page and focus on the future,” said Donald Wright, U.S. ambassador to Tanzania.