Military Police Uses Pliers to Torture Victim

Victória Jamba Sequesseque is upset but she is very proud of her 22-year-old son, Emiliano Catumbela. He has been in police custody since the May 27 for having taken part in an attempted vigil in Independence Square, which was violently squashed by the National Police.

The vigil, organised by the Revolutionary Youth Movement, sought to peacefully mark the first anniversary of the disappearance of the activists Alves Kamulingue and Isaías Cassule, who were kidnapped in Luanda.

The young man, currently being held in the district of Viana, gave details of his torture to his mother and Member of Parliament Leonel Gomes, during a visit on Saturday. “It was the provincial commander of the National Police [in Luanda], Commissioner Elizabeth “Bety” Rank Frank, who personally gave orders to the police officers on duty to beat the young detainees, and to make sure to hit them in the head, Emiliano told us,” stated the MP from CASA-CE, Angola’s third largest political party.

In turn, Victória Sequesseque repeated her son’s testimony, according to which “the Military Police officers on duty used pliers to try to pull the nail off one of the fingers of his right hand, there in the station. You can still see the wound.”

During his five days of detention, Emiliano Catumbela has also been tortured in the 1st first and 2nd second police stations. He also has been locked in the cells of the Provincial Criminal Investigation Bureau (DPIC), as well as the 19th Police Station Cantinton, in the district of Maianga.

“Emiliano’s left eye was still bloodshot after the torture; his ribs are covered in grazes from the beating and they’re still hurting him. Apart from one injection, he was given absolutely no medical attention,”complains his mother.

The lawyer and president of Associação Mãos Livres, Salvador Freire, expresses his indignation with the fact that the National Police have still not allowed him to get in touch with his client, Emiliano Catumbela.

“Initially, the DPIC brought criminal charges against the young man, for attempted assault, and referred him on to the attorney general. The latter returned the case nº516/013-02 and a new charge was brought against the defendant,” explains Salvador Freire.

According to the lawyer, it was the division commander of the National Police in Maianga, chief-superintendent Eduardo Diogo, who brought forward the two charges. “First, the commander brought a charge of attempted assault against Emiliano. Then he formulated a second charge, claiming the young man had tried to kill him, thereby bringing a second charge of attempted murder (case nº 2176/2013),” clarifies Salvador Freire.

The lawyer argues that charges are absurd: “There was a massive police and security presence in the square, including mounted police, a canine unit, Rapid Intervention Police, Military Police and state security agents.”

“How could a young man, who was actually being tortured at the location, possibly have had time to threaten the life of the police commander in the same place?,” asks Salvador Freire.

He believes the case against Emiliano Catumbela “is a trumped up case and a complete fabrication which even the Attorney General finds embarrassing.”

Faced with her son’s plight, Victória Sequesseque states: “I don’t think my son did anything wrong by taking part in the vigil. My son did not steal, nor did he break any of this government’s laws. He was on a mission to defend the people.”

His mother is upset that her son is missing school and work. Emiliano Catumbela is a 9th grade night student, and by day he works as a motorbike mechanic for a large company in Viana.

“He pays his own tuition fees at a private college, he rents a room to lead an independent life, and he goes to work. I am sickened that he is being mistreated. I am his mother and I feel his pain.”

Emiliano Catumbela’s tenacity is extraordinary. He was first arrested by police officers at around 8pm on May 27, along with two other youth, Nito Alves and Albano Bringo. The officers beat them with truncheons and kicked them.

In the 3rd police station, in Vila Alice, police officers stripped and tortured the prisoners, according to testimony given by Nito Alves to Maka Angola. Afterwards, they were taken to the municipality of Cazenga, where they were freed.

The youths returned to Independence Square to re-join the vigil, and at around 10pm, where police officers detained Emiliano Catumbela for the second time.