Sunday 22 April 2018

Angolan Journalist to Hear Criminal Libel Verdict

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A court in Angola is expected to render a verdict Thursday in the case against journalist and anti-corruption activist Rafael Marques de Morais.

He is charged with criminal libel for having exposed human rights abuses in the diamond-producing northeast province of Lunda Norte.

The case was brought by seven generals and the Minister of State and head of presidential security. De Morais said the charges stemmed from his book Blood Diamonds: Torture and Corruption in Angola, in which he recounts hundreds of cases of torture and killing allegedly carried out in two diamond-producing districts.

Angolan authorities were not immediately available for comment.

De Morais said when the trial opened in March he was asked to make a patriotic statement and, if he did, the case would go away. Now, he said he feels double-crossed because, after making the statement, his accusers said he should face a one-month suspended prison sentence.

“I was asked on the 21st of May, before the hearing started, to basically make a statement to enable the generals and the prosecution to drop the charges. Basically, I explained in court that I submitted my questions to the general’s company on the human rights abuses, but I learned in court that these questions were not forwarded to the general himself,” he said.

De Morais said that as a sign of good faith and since there was a willingness on the part of the generals to drop the case, he reaffirmed his commitment not to reprint the book. But, he said, the prosecution misrepresented what he had said in court.