President Dos Santos Wants Dictatorial Control of the Net

Angola’s President for the past 36 years, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, has used his traditional end of year speech to announce legal measures to control social media and the internet, which he feels have been offending and humiliating him. Announcing his main projects for the New Year, the President ignored the famine currently affecting residents in the southern province of Cunene along with the many other challenges faced by the Angolan people.  Instead, he is prioritizing further ways to silence the growing criticism of his increasingly-dictatorial regime. This is equally the case with Angola’s ‘Marie Antoinette’, Isabel dos Santos, the President’s billionaire daughter.  This Christmas she had a  “Let them Eat Cake” moment, choosing to spend US $2 million on bringing the Anaconda rapper Nicki Minaj to Luanda rather visiting Cunene in her role as president of the Angolan Red Cross to assist local communities severely affected by the drought. Social […]

Read more

The Regime Turnaround on the Release of 15 Political Prisoners

There are slightly encouraging signs that the Angolan government is coming to terms with the damage it has inflicted upon itself by investing all its powers in making up evidence to prove that the detained 15 young activists were preparing acts of rebellion and attempting to assassinate President Dos Santos, by plotting to burn tires in the presidential palace. Sadly, it has taken extreme gestures such as Sedrick de Carvalho, one of the accused, threatening to commit suicide, for common sense to prevail. The attorney general, Army General João Maria de Sousa, announced yesterday, during a press conference, that the prosecution appealed to the judge to end the 177 days pre-trial detention of the youths, and replace it with house arrest, under the new Law on Preventive Measures on Penal Processes. Defense lawyer David Mendes told the Portuguese news agency Lusa, that the measure is illegal “because the law is not […]

Read more

Detained Angolan Journalist Threatens to Commit Suicide in Protest

Detained Angolan journalist Sedrick de Carvalho has written a letter, from the São Paulo Prison, threatening to commit suicide in protest against his 176 days of unlawful detention, culminating in a sham trial which started on November 16. In an open letter to the public, the 26 year-old journalist reveals that, during his six months in detention, he spent more than 2,000 hours straight in solitary confinement without being able to see daylight. He says this is a deliberate strategy by the Angolan authorities, to drive the prisoners insane  with psychological torture, humiliation and other abuses. “I regret to say that from now on I will refuse any further visits, to prevent any efforts that my family (wife, little daughter, parents and siblings) may undertake to convince me to back down on my decision, Sedrick de Carvalho writes in his open letter. “ I am also announcing that I am […]

Read more

The Unfair Trial and the Unjust Minister

In the face of what is turning out to be the trial that is defining the true nature of the Angolan state, the Minister of Justice, Rui Mangueira, and his colleagues went on a spirited international public relations offensive. His main argument was that by citing the country’s recurring human rights abuses, ill-intentioned people were defaming Angola’s good name abroad. In Angola, the trial of young activists accused of preparing a rebellion and an attempt on the president’s life has been going on for the last three weeks.  Someone in the Angolan government seems bent on permanently staining its good name. The accused have been treated so poorly that they are suggesting they may go on a collective hunger strike if their trial is drawn out. Of the 17 accused, only nine have been heard so far in the 15 daily sessions. The activists have certainly not turned out to […]

Read more

Rapper Calls in Court for End of Dos Santos 36-Year Rule

The rapper and activist Luaty Beirão, one of the seventeen accused in Luanda with preparing a rebellion, said Angola is a “pseudo-democracy” and once again called for the president to step down. Beirão is the seventh activist that Judge Domingos Januário has questioned in the twelve sessions of the trial that have been held at the Luanda Provincial Court. The judge asked several questions and the examination will continue today. Luaty Beirão denied before the court that the meetings the group used to have, from May until the detentions in June, were meant to promote violent acts to overthrow the president.  He said the gatherings were solely academic discussions around a book, and that there were no personal political agendas. Beirão criticized what he called Angolan “pseudodemocracy” and repeated calls he has been making since 2011 for the resignation of President José Eduardo dos Santos whom he called a dictator […]

Read more

Another Day in Court

Across the street, a police camera van monitors the movements outside the courthouse. The trial of the 17 activists charged with plotting a rebellion and attempting to assassinate the president by discussing literature on nonviolence, has attracted many other activists who want to express their support for the defendants. There is also another element of sophistication in this trial. The Military Intelligence and Security Service of the Angolan Armed Forces has deployed 80 officers to the trial. Half of them pose as either unknown relatives of the defendants or law students to fill the courtroom and, thus, enable the police to keep the unwanted activists, diplomats, observers and public away, with the excuse of the courtroom lacking space. The other half is deployed in the vicinity. Each defendant has the right to have two relatives in the courtroom, to whom the police issue credentials. No credentials no entry. That is […]

Read more

Presidential Guard who Shot Dead Opposition Activist Acquitted

The Luanda Provincial Court yesterday acquitted the soldier from the Presidential Guard Unit who shot dead an opposition activist in November 2013.  After the judge pronounced the acquittal, there were protests outside the courtroom prompting the intervention of the police. The prosecution had charged the soldier Desidério Barros of murder, which would have been punishable by up to 20 years in prison.  The soldier had fired two shots that killed Manuel Hilberto Ganga, leader of the youth wing of CASA-CE [Electoral Coalition for the Salvation of Angola]. According to the Angolan police, the youth leader, then aged 32, was found violating the security perimeter of the presidency, to put up anti-regime posters, which the court found to be offensive to president José Eduardo dos Santos. The court concluded that the soldier, aged 30, had acted properly, taking into account the security perimeter wall around the president’s palace, and that the victim, after being […]

Read more

Blood Diamonds: Letter to President Dos Santos

Human rights defender Rafael Marques de Morais sent a letter to president Dos Santos, in his capacity as the highest magistrate in the country, on February 15, urging him to take action on human rights abuses. In the letter, the author denounced the failure of the Attorney General’s office in investigating cases of assassination and torture in the diamond-rich provinces of Lundas, in northeastern Angola. The Office of the Attorney General is, by law, a branch of the Presidency. Last November, the attorney general’s office notified Rafael Marques de Morais that it had shelved the criminal complaint he had lodged a year earlier against nine generals, after a preliminary hearing. As body of evidence, Rafael Marques de Morais filed his book Blood Diamonds: Torture and Corruption in Angola, published in Portugal in 2011. The book detailed cases involving the murder of more than 100 people, and more than 500 tortured. […]

Read more

A Day in Court to Remember

Today I had a memorable court experience. I went to witness the trial of a fellow journalist, Ramiro Aleixo, and found myself stealing away moments of his day in court. The judge and the public prosecutor spent a brief but distracting time expressing their displeasure with an article I wrote on the first day of the proceedings, on May 11. Ramiro Aleixo stands vaguely accused of defaming and slandering the “military justice” for two articles he wrote nearly five years ago on the trial and conviction of the former director of the Angolan Intelligence Service (Serviços de Inteligência Externa), General Fernando Garcia Miala. The former spymaster had initially been under investigation for an attempted coup, but was later charged and convicted for disobedience. For calling the trial a farce, the journalist was put on the dock. Upon realizing my presence in the courtroom, judge Alfredo Lourenço Martins had quite a […]

Read more
1 4 5 6