“Generals vs Rafael Marques” at the United Nations

Representatives of 17 Angolan and international organizations have written to the United Nations and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, asking that these bodies call on the Angolan government to put an end to the defamation charges against journalist Rafael Marques de Morais. A letter sent on August 2 expresses concern with the various legal measures taken against Mr. Marques de Morais concerning his book Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola published in Portugal in 2011. The book reports cases of murder and torture against people in the diamond-bearing Lundas’ region, in northeastern Angola. The most recent legal action against  Mr. Marques de Morais comprises 11 criminal complaints brought by seven Angolan generals acting individually and three corporations acting collectively, namely Sociedade Mineira do Cuango, ITM-Mining and the security company Teleservice. All are implicated in the alleged crimes that occurred in the Lundas, as documented in Mr. […]

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HRW: Defamation Laws Silence Journalists

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the Angolan attorney-general to drop all criminal defamation charges against investigative journalist and human rights defender Rafael Marques de Morais, arguing that the charges undermine the right to freedom of expression. In a press release  (HERE É PARA TIRAR O LINK APENAS here) issued today, August 12, HRW also urged the Angolan government to repeal the country’s criminal defamation laws, which are the basis for the charges against Mr. Marques de Morais. According to Leslie Lefkow, HRW deputy Africa director, “Angola has found its criminal defamation laws very useful to try to squelch reports about corruption and human rights violations. Angola should be investigating these reports of serious human rights violations instead of trying to silence the bearers of bad news.” The various legal measures taken against Mr. Marques de Morais are related to his book Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola, published […]

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International NGOs Urge Attorney General to Drop Charges Against Journalist

Over a dozen democracy, human rights and anti-corruption groups have written to Angola’s Attorney General urging for an end to “politically-motivated” charges of defamation and libel against journalist and activist Rafael Marques de Morais. Mr. Marques de Morais has been summoned to answer charges of defamation following the publication of his book, “Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola”, which catalogues allegations of human rights abuse in Angola’s diamond areas. The complainants are civilian business partners of Angolan generals, the alleged perpetrators of the crimes outlined in the book. In a letter presented on Thursday, June 6, to Attorney General João Maria de Sousa, the group said: “We believe that the alleged charges of defamation and libel against Mr. Marques de Morais are politically motivated. The petitioners point out that the investigation process against Mr. Marques de Morais has been fraught with multiple irregularities, including the potential threat to the […]

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