Young “Revolutionaries” Freed on Bail
On Monday, Judge Josefina Pedro of the Luanda Police Court ordered the release of eight youths who had been detained during a demonstration in the city on September 19.
The detainees, all known to be members of the self-nominated Revolutionary Movement, were suspected of trying to organise an anti-government demonstration. They are Adolfo António, Adolfo Campos, Amândio Canhanga, António Ferreira, Joel Francisco, Pedro Teka, Quintuango Mabiala and Roberto Gamba.
The eight first appeared in court for summary trial on September 20 and were released because there was not sufficient evidence against them. However, 20 minutes after their release, the Rapid Reaction Police rearrested seven members of the group while they were talking to journalist Rafael Marques de Morais about their earlier experiences of arrest and torture under police custody.
Marques and two other journalists were arrested at the time same. Police beat all of the detainees, before releasing the three journalists, while the seven youths remained in the cells over the weekend.
At the second court appearance on Monday, September 23, the seven youths faced the charge of causing a disturbance. Owing to the confusion created by the two arrests, the judge decided to merge the two cases into one. She also said the accusations were vague, and referred the case back to the police, requesting that the charges be refined and specific evidence produced for each of the accused.
Defence lawyer David Mendes explained that because the youths were once again in police custody when they appeared in court the second time, they could be released only on payment of bail. Judge Josefina Pedro ordered that bail of 200,000 kwanzas (US$2,000) be paid for each of the detainees.
Police accused two of the suspects, Quintuango Mabiala and Roberto Gamba “Pastor”, of assaulting a police officer who, according to the police, is now receiving medical treatment. The judge demanded that the officer who was supposedly attacked appear in court.
The accused were not permitted to make a statement in court.
However, Maka Angola has established that Quintuango Mabiala and Roberto Gamba “Pastor” had been tortured until they lost consciousness while in police custody.
“In the Ninth Unit sick bay, where they revived us, they gave us each a paracetamol tablet and put a bit of ointment on our fingers to treat our injuries,” Mabiala said.
“The prosecution failed to substantiate the charges to incriminate the defendants. Under normal circumstances, the defendants would have been immediately acquitted for lack of specific charges against them, “said another defense lawyer, Salvador Freire.