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Silenced Angolans Originate International Noise

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 29/03/2016 Catarina Rocha Ferreira


On the same month that Angola takes the rotating presidency of the
United Nations Security Council;
Let me introduce you 17 (seventeen) Angolan activists, that were sentenced to prison, by a Luanda Court, last Monday:

  • Domingos da Cruz Maninho (journalist and university lecturer, author of an unpublished book "Tools to Destroy a Dictatorship and Avoiding a New Dictatorship - Political Philosophy for the Liberation of Angola", which describes mechanisms of peaceful resistance): sentenced to 8 years and 6 months in prison;
  • Luaty Beirão (computer engineer and angolan rapper, also known by his stage name Ikonoklasta): sentenced to 5 years and 6 months in prison;
  • Nuno Dala (university professor): sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison;
  • Sedrick de Carvalho (journalist): sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison;
  • Manuel Chivonde "Nito Alves" (university student): sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison;
  • Inocêncio de Brito (student): sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison;
  • Laurinda Gouveia (university student): sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison;
  • Fernando António Tomás "Nicola" (mechanic): sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison;
  • Afonso Matias "Mbanza Hamza" (primary school teacher): sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison;
  • Osvaldo Caholo (air force lieutenant): sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison;
  • Arante Kivuvu (student): sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison;
  • Albano Evaristo Bingo-Bingo (student): sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison;
  • Nelson Dibango (film-maker): sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison;
  • Hitler Jessy Tshikonde (student): sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison;
  • José Gomes Hata (highschool teacher): sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison;
  • Rosa Conde (secretary): sentenced to 2 years and 3 months in prison;
  • Jeremias Benedito (civil servant): sentenced to 2 years and 3 months in prison.

These activists were detained after a book club meeting, where they had been discussing a book by Gene Sharp called "From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation", about non-violent resistance.
Many of them were several days in hunger strikes to protest against their unfair detentions and the deplorable conditions they were given in jail.
Several international observers, namely the Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch, evocated that this trial was seen as a farce and questioned international fair trial standards that were apparently breached.
Nevertheless it was the Court's verdict that these seventeen individuals were lawbreakers and they were condemned for allegedly conspiracy to overthrow the government and planning a rebellion against the President of the Republic.
Side note: José Eduardo dos Santos is the President of Angola since 1979, for the last 36 years.
Restringing the freedom of expression and the freedom of peaceful assembly is like stepping on quicksand. It might seem possible to silence a few people, but it creates a national and international deafening noise. And the mere divergence of views cannot be enough to permit the limitation of these fundamental rights, which are universally protected through various international instruments, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Just last September, Angola had been accused of additional arbitrary detentions and arrests by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, as another activist, José Marcos Mavungo, was arrested and sentenced to six years in prison for organizing a peaceful and nonviolent protest against human rights violations and bad governance in the province of Cabinda.
All in all, we are witnessing a consecutive disrespect for the most basic human rights.
2016-03-29-1459216411-1382682-prison162885_960_720.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2016-03-29-1459216411-1382682-prison162885_960_720.jpg

YOUTH PRISON © Doug Berry via Getty Images YOUTH PRISON

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