Media Statement: Angola urged to drop spurious charges against youth activists

Fifteen youth activists in Angola are due to appear in court on 16 November, facing charges of preparing for a rebellion and attempting to assassinate the President. CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance, is calling on Angolan authorities to end the judicial persecution of these 15 young people, who have been in detention since June this year.

Charges against the accused [1]  stem mostly from participation in a private gathering to discuss non-violent strategies for civil disobedience, outlined in a book titled ‘From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation.’ Several of the accused have publicly expressed their opposition against Angola’s totalitarian state apparatus. 

“Speaking up for human rights is not a crime,” said David Kode, Policy and Research Officer at CIVICUS. “These are spurious charges and persecution of these activists is indicative of the illegitimate nature of the Angolan state which has signed up to several international human rights treaties but continues to blatantly ignore its commitments.”

There are reports of several of the activists being denied recourse to due legal process, including delayed communication of the charges, solitary confinement and torture in detention. In protest against the injustice meted out to them, some of the activists embarked on hunger strikes lasting several days. Their health remains precarious due to their ill-treatment in detention and the hunger strikes.

As Angola celebrated 40 years of indepdendence on 11 November, authorities prohibited protests and arrested a number demonstrators who were demanding the release of the 15 youth activists. Angolan authorities have over the years repressed calls for accountability and respect for the rule of law and fundamental freedoms. Human rights defenders and journalists who uncover abuses by the government are regularly intimidated, harassed, jailed and tortured. 

CIVICUS calls on Angola’s authorities to unconditionally release all the 15 wrongfully charged activists and respect the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

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[1] Henrique Luati da Silva Beirão, Albano Bingobingo Manuel Nito Alves, Nuno Alvaro Dala, Nelson Mendes Dos Santos, Alfonso Jojo Matias (Mbanza Hamza), Sedrick de Carvalho, Fernando António Tómas (Nicola Radical), Hitler Chiconda (Samussuku), Italiano Arante Kivuvu, Benedito Dali (Dito Dali), José Gomes Hata (a.k.a. Cheik Hata) and Inocénio De Brito (Drux) as well as Domingos da Cruz, journalist, and Osvaldo Correia Caholo.

 

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