Will Angola persists with defamation charges against ‘Blood Diamonds’ journalist today?

May 28, 2015

Investigative journalist Rafael Marques de Morais is due to appear in court today in Angola for sentencing. On 25 May the Public Prosecutor in his trial requested that the judge convict him of criminal defamation and sentence him to 30 days in prison, only four days after the announcement of the Lunda Provincial Tribunal that charges against Mr. Marques de Morais had been dropped!“ After more than two years of continuous judicial harassment, solely based on Mr. Marques de Morais human rights activities, this last decision makes yet another mockery of justice in Angola ”, said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

[Mr. Marques de Morais is a well-known Angolan journalist and editor of an Angolan anti-corruption website,who has been facing continuous judicial harassment since the publication in 2011, of his book, “Blood Diamonds : Corruption and Torture in Angola”, in which he documents and denounces the corruption, allegations of homicides, torture, forced eviction of civilian settlements and intimidation of inhabitants of the diamond-mining areas of Angola’s Lundas region by some state agents and business entrepreneurs.]

He is same Rafael Marques de Morais, who was quoted in my post of 19 December 2013 about Mariah Carey performing for the President that “the presidency was happy to cover the capital in posters of her performance, but on November 23 the presidential guards murdered an activist in custody for posting fliers. Those fliers were a peaceful protest of the murder of other activists disappeared by state police. How does Mariah Carey, the artist and humanist, who so often speaks about human rights, feel about that?…..The Angolan Red Cross gala raised $65,000. Mariah Carey’s transportation alone cost several times that number. It’s absolutely shameless,” added de Morais. [from https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/mariah-carey-needs-better-informed-staff-and-donate-her-1-million-fee-to-human-rights-defenders-in-angola/#more-4223]

The harassment against Marques de Morais has also taken the form of cyber-attacks and cyber-espionage. His blog, Maka Angola, has been blocked on several occasions and his personal laptop has been attacked with malware programs.“ The backtracking in Mr. Marques de Morais’ case raises serious concerns over the respect of his right to a fair trial. Authorities must once and for all unconditionally drop all pending charges against him ” says Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary General.

Also Amnesty International says today that Angola’s authorities must abandon efforts to resuscitate the criminal defamation case against investigative journalist Rafael Marques de Morais: “The Public Prosecutor’s request for Rafael Marques de Morais to be found guilty of criminal defamation is a clear sign of abuse of the judiciary to intimidate those who dare to speak truth to power in Angola,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa…”As the generals and companies have already plainly recognized that Rafael Marques de Morais did not commit defamation against them, there is no reason why the Public Prosecutor should insist on continuing the case and pursuing punitive action.

Angola : Authorities must drop all pending charges in Rafael (…).

http://allafrica.com/stories/201505271826.html

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