Annual Report: Angola 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Angola 2010

View More Research

  • In July, the Director of A Capital newspaper was reportedly called in for questioning by the Criminal Police on suspicion of "attacking the honour and dignity of the head of state", a criminal offence. The accusation was based on a complaint by the Public Prosecutor's Office regarding an article that appeared in the paper criticizing the President. No decision had been made on the case by the end of the year.
  • Also in July, Luanda Provincial Court sentenced journalist Eugénio Mateus to a three-month suspended prison term for defamation of the armed forces. The charges were brought as a result of a complaint by the army’s chief of staff for an article Eugénio Mateus had written in 2007 criticizing the army for, among other things, excessive drinking of alcohol.

Cabinda province

Sporadic fighting continued in Cabinda province between the Armed Forces of Angola and the military wing of the Front for the Liberation of the Cabinda State (FLEC).

  • The trial of five individuals arrested and charged with crimes against the state in Cabinda province in 2008 started in March. In May, four were acquitted and one was sentenced to 18 months in prison for possession of firearms. All five were released, including the one sentenced because of the time he had already spent in pre-trial detention.
  • In August, prisoner of conscience José Fernando Lelo was released after he was acquitted on appeal by the Supreme Military Court, which ruled there was insufficient evidence to maintain the conviction. In September 2008, the Cabinda Military Court had sentenced him to 12 years in prison for crimes against the security of the state and instigating a rebellion. Also in August, the Supreme Military Court increased on appeal the sentences from 13 years to between 22 and 24 years of five soldiers sentenced with José Fernando Lelo in September 2008. The five had been convicted of attempted armed rebellion and other military crimes and sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment.

Migrants’ rights

The authorities continued to expel undocumented migrants, mainly nationals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). However, many of those expelled claimed to have rights to remain in Angola. Towards the end of September, the DRC authorities began expelling Angolans in retaliation (see DRC entry).

The mass expulsions were carried out under deplorable conditions and accompanied by human rights violations, including physical and at times sexual violence by the armed forces. Large numbers of people were transported to borders in overcrowded vehicles and there were reports that some died of asphyxiation. Many family members, including children, were separated during the expulsions and those deported were left in remote areas without food and shelter. Refugees from both countries were affected by these expulsions.

In October, both countries agreed to stop the expulsions. The Angolan government worked with a UN inter-agency commission to deal with the resultant humanitarian situation in Uíge and Zaire provinces. No action was known to have been taken against anyone for the human rights violations that accompanied the expulsions.

Amnesty International reports

Applications for visas made by Amnesty International in October 2008 were not granted. In October 2009 Amnesty International lodged new applications but these too had not been granted by the end of the year.

Unjust, unlawful, unacceptable: Forced evictions in Angola (28 May 2009)
Angola: Submission to the UN Universal Periodical Review (1 September 2009)