Another Angolan Political Prisoner on a 10-Day Hunger Strike
Albano Bingobingo is very ill. This is his tenth day on hunger strike. Maka Angola learnt through sources within the prison system that Bingobingo has also been severely tortured by guards at the São Paulo Penitenciary in Luanda.
“Bingobingo’s eyes have sunken. He is very sick; he has a swollen leg and remained locked up in a human pigsty without any medical assistance,” said the source.
Henriqueta Diogo, wife of the political prisoner Benedito Jeremias, also told Maka Angola that Albano Bingobingo has serious difficulties in urinating.
On October 14, at around 23:00, four of the political prisoners of the now famous 15+1 Case – Benedito Jeremias, Afonso Matias “Mbanza Hamza”; Hitler Jessy Chiconde, and Albano Bingobingo – were transferred from the São Paulo Penitenciary to the Luanda Central Penitenciary. The norm is for detainees to be transferred during the day; however, in the case of these political prisoners, the government has been arbitrarily placing them in different prisons, usually late at night.
Oddly, the transference happened after the deputy director of São Paulo Penitenciary, Aldivino Oliveira, personally ordered and videoed Benedito Jeremias and Albano Bingobingo being tortured. Maka Angola has previously reported on this. Benedito Jeremias still has wounds on his legs and chest from the beatings that he received.
“Bingobingo was also beaten with electrical truncheons. The police stripped him naked in his cell, tortured him, and dragged him to the corridor, ” said the activist, Rosa Conde, after talking to Albano Bingobingo.
In addition to the beatings, the way the government has been managing the crisis with hunger strikers in the 15+1 Case is beginning to raise questions about treatment based on the social origins of the detainees.
Recently, Luaty Beirão, a rapper who has been on hunger strike for twenty-six days was transferred to the VIP suite of the Girasol Clinic accompanied by two prison guards.
Through a painful protest, Luaty Beirão has managed to mobilize the international press to his cause, and this has been putting pressure on the government of President José Eduardo Dos Santos.
Yesterday, Luaty Beirão expressed his wish to be transferred to a more modest hospital, thus sticking to his values of restraint and humility when it comes to comfort and material goods.
At CCL, Albano Bingobingo is in section 10-a in the “hall” along with a hundred other prisoners packed like sardines.
“The “hall” is the size of a large dining hall, and has been divided into eight alleys using cardboard and plastic. In each alley there are between twelve and fifteen people, ” said a source from CCL.
According to the source who, due to security concerns, chose to remain anonymous, “the detainees sleep one on top of the other because there is no space. There is only one toilet for everyone. The single toilet, without running water, has been a cause of disease, ” said the source.
Cockroaches, lice, and bedbugs are all over the cells, according to various accounts from the detainees that were made to this portal. In the next days, Maka Angola will have a more detailed report of the Luanda Central Prison.
Maka Angola tried without success to contact the police Media Relations’ Office for further clarification.
The journalist Luísa Rogério expressed her indignation at the way Albano Bingobingo has been treated.
“The government must treat everyone equally. Luaty and Albano are colleagues in their struggle; they were detained together and it is not right that they should be treated differently,” said Luísa Rogério.
Rogério, who is also a political analyst, stated that the government’s discriminatory act “could be interpreted as a move to divide the citizens. Luaty gets treated well for being what he is, and the other is sent to a pigsty for humans for being a common citizen.”
“It is exactly against these injustices that Luaty and his colleagues have been fighting. The government must also treat Albano in a dignified and human way. Just because they have been detained does not mean that they ought to be deprived of their human rights,” said Rogério.
Who is Albano Bingobingo?
Until 2011, Albano worked as a driver at the Angolan presidency. He was fired for being part of a group of workers who wanted better working conditions.
The detainee in question is considered to be a leading figure in the group of young people who have tried to have protests that have been continuously crushed by the police and security services. Bingobingo has been detained more than six times, and has been tortured by the police.
Since he has no relatives in Luanda, Nito Alves’s family has been helping him. Adália Chivonde, mother of Nito Alves, who has been assisting him, complained to Maka Angola saying, “the deputy director of São Paulo prison has been taking photos of Albano naked while taking a bath. We do not like this. We do not understand the behavior of these leaders. We want to know what is going on.”
Mbanza Hamza Beaten
Meanwhile, this portal has learnt that the “frontline” activist Mbanza Hamza was brutally beaten on October 14 by the prison special forces. This happened when he refused to enter the CCL cell, after he was transferred there, due to the subhuman conditions of the cell.
“The director of the prison, Andre J. Pintinho, called the director general of the prisons who authorized the special forces to beat Mbanza Hamza, “ said a prison source.
“In the cell, Mbanza was so angry that he began to hit the wall with his head and they had to calm him down. He spent thirty minutes in shock due to the effect of hitting his head against the wall,” said the source.
Fear of Poisoning
The political prisoners Benedito Jeremias and Hitler Jessy Chiconde told relatives that they refused to get any food as they feared that it might be poisoned.
The inspection of food brought to the detainees by the prison authorities, which was seen by Maka Angola, is a health hazard. Always using the same knife, the prison officers inspect the food of hundreds of detainees – sometimes dipping the knife into a bowl of hot water that is never changed and without detergent. After this, the bags containing the food are put on a corner with stickers containing the names of the respective detainees. It is the same detainees who, without any supervision, take the food to different men.
In other prisons, the authorities allow the food to be given directly to the prisoners.
After the publication of the original version of this article yesterday, the political prisoners were transferred late at night to the same jail, in São Paulo Penitentiary. Upon their arrest last June, the political prisoners had been scattered into four different jails within and outside the capital, Luanda, until yesterday. The exception was Nelson Dibango who, despite his good mental health, had been interned in the Psychiatric Hospital of Luanda until yesterday, as a form of psychological torture.
Of the 15 political prisoners, rapper Luaty Beirão is the only one who is currently in a private clinic, as he is on a 28-day hunger strike.
Today, the author visited Albano Bingobingo, whose health remains frail as he entered the 10th day of his hunger strike. Another visit is set to take place tomorrow to discuss an end to his protest, given what his group has so far achieved in terms of casting a worldwide spotlight on the Angolan regime’s political intolerance.