Annual Report: Mozambique 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Mozambique 2010

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  • In June, the Maputo Provincial Court in Matola city convicted a senior police officer of the murder of Abranches Penicelo in August 2007. The police officer was sentenced to 22 years' imprisonment and ordered to pay compensation of 500,000Mtn (about US$19,000) to Abranches Penicelo's five children. However, five other officers accused of involvement in the killing were neither charged nor tried. Two other police officers allegedly involved had since died. Following years of police harassment, Abranches Penicelo had been beaten, injected with a toxic substance, shot in the neck, set on fire and left for dead by eight police officers. There were reports of police officers co-operating with criminals, including by providing them with firearms and police uniforms.
  • Two convicted murderers who escaped from Maputo city police cells in December 2008 were rearrested. Samuel Januário "Samito" Nhare was rearrested in January and Aníbal "Anibalzinho" dos Santos Júnior in August. A third, Luís "Todinho" de Jesus Tomás, who had escaped with the others, was found shot dead in Matola city, Maputo, in January. "Anibalzinho" alleged that their escape had been facilitated by the police.
  • In February, three police officers were arrested on suspicion of collaborating with criminals.

Excessive use of force

Police continued to use excessive force, especially when apprehending suspects and when controlling demonstrations.

  • In January, plain-clothed police shot at four unnamed men who were reportedly attempting to rob a shop selling electrical appliances in the Baixa area of Maputo. The police officers opened fire on two of the suspects as they emerged from the shop, killing one instantly and injuring the other in the leg. The two other suspects reportedly escaped. Police authorities told Amnesty International that the police officers acted in self-defence when the alleged robbers shot at them. However, they also stated that it was agents of the private security company guarding the shop who had opened fire. No investigation was carried out.
  • In April, a police officer shot and wounded two striking workers at the construction site of the Mozambique national stadium. About 700 workers were striking over low wages, lack of overtime pay and mistreatment by the project's managers. The Maputo city police stated that an investigation would be carried out, but no further information had been released by the end of the year.
  • In September, police fired live ammunition while trying to disperse demonstrations at a sugar plantation in the Marromeu district of Sofala province, injuring two workers. The demonstrations reportedly turned violent when strikers destroyed an ambulance and motorbike, put up barricades and burned part of the sugar plantation .Workers at the sugar plantation were striking over wages. No investigation was known to have been carried out by the end of the year.

Deaths in custody

In March, 13 people died of asphyxiation in an overcrowded police cell in Mongicual. The detainees had been arrested along with others following riots over cholera treatment in the district. In August, the Angoche District Court convicted the officer on duty at the time and the district police commander of manslaughter and sentenced them both to one year's imprisonment. The court acquitted the district head of the criminal investigation police due to lack of evidence.

Amnesty International visit/reports

Amnesty International delegates visited Mozambique in May.

Briefing to the Parliament (assembly) of Mozambique (20 April 2009)
"I can't believe in justice any more": Obstacles to justice for unlawful killings by police in Mozambique (16 November 2009)