Six Months in Prison for Calling the Trial a Farce

The Angolan judge presiding over the ‘Luanda Book Club’ trial of 17 Angolan activists accused of preparing a rebellion, has pronounced one of the activists guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to six months in prison and a fine of 50,000 Kwanzas.

Defendant Manuel Chivonde Baptista Nito Alves, 19,  had “interjected disrespectfully”, said Judge Januário Domingos, accusing him of “offending and disrespecting the court.”

Nito Alves was allegedly heard to make a comment when his own father, Fernando Baptista, was being asked whether he had been heard in the preparatory phase of the trial,  to which he said “no”.
Counsel for the public prosecutor’s office referred Fernando Baptista to records of the proceedings.  That was when Nito Alves “interjected disrespectfully” said the judge,  to “belittle and slander the court.”

The defence lawyer asked for moderation and a corrective measure, arguing in mitigation that the accused had been under intense pressure, including six months in preventative detention. The judge demurred, instead sentencing Nito Alves to six months imprisonment.

Before being returned to prison, after 51 days under house arrest, Nito Alves said: “I do not fear for my life; this trial is a farce”.