Annual Report: Mozambique 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Mozambique 2013

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REPUBLIC OF MOZAMBIQUE

Head of state Armando Emílio Guebuza

Head of government Alberto Vaquina (replaced Aires Ali)

People were subject to arbitrary arrest and detention by police, and prolonged detention without trial. Excessive use of force by police was reported. Appalling conditions in prisons led to riots.

Background

On 8 March a shoot-out between police in Nampula city and about 300 members of the opposition Mozambique National Resistance (Resistência Nacional Moçambicana, Renamo) resulted in the deaths of a police officer and a Renamo member, and injuries to several others, both police and Renamo. Police had raided the Renamo headquarters where the men had set up camp since December 2011, apparently awaiting orders from the party leader, Afonso Dhlakama, to stage anti-government protests. At the end of October Afonso Dhlakama moved with about 800 men to the Renamo former base in Gorongosa, Sofala province, threatening to return to war unless the government agreed to meet them. In November a government commission was set up to begin dialogue with Renamo. In December, four Renamo members were convicted and sentenced to nine months and 11 days' imprisonment in connection with the March shoot-out. They were released immediately as they had spent that time in pre-trial detention.

On 11 May parliament elected former Minister of Justice, José Abudo, as the first Justice Ombudsman. On 5 September, 11 commissioners of the new National Human Rights Commission were sworn in.

In September President Guebuza was re-elected Frelimo president at the party's 10th congress.

Police and security forces

Between February and November, over 20 Asian businessmen and family members were kidnapped in the capital Maputo and held for ransom. The Asian business community alleged that the police were involved in the kidnappings. In September individuals suspected of involvement were arrested and released, apparently due to lack of evidence. Others were arrested in November; no further information was available by the end of the year.

In April the Commander General of Police acted in defiance of a court decision and reportedly stated that he was not bound by the decision of the judiciary with regard to police discipline.

  • In March, five police officers in Nacala, Nampula province, including the Nacala Police Commander, were arrested in connection with the alleged illegal storage of arms. A judge ordered their conditional release pending investigation, but they were re-arrested and detained by police before again being released after intervention by lawyers. The Commander General of Police stated that police had acted in accordance with the Police Disciplinary Regulation of 1987 and were not bound by the decision of the court. In September the Constitutional Council determined that the provision of the Regulation which the Commander General had relied on had already been revoked.

Arbitrary arrests and detentions

Police carried out arbitrary arrests and detentions, a number of which were politically motivated. Some detainees were released without charge. None appeared to have received compensation and no police officers appeared to have been held criminally responsible.