Annual Report: Mozambique 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Mozambique 2013

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  • Police arrested members of the War Veterans Forum, including its spokesperson, Jossías Alfredo Matsena, who was arrested on three separate occasions. On 10 January he was arrested and released without charge after a few hours. On 19 January he was again arrested, and charged with fraud and threats against a Frelimo district representative. He was tried for fraud and acquitted in March; the charges relating to the alleged threats were dropped in June. On 14 February he was arrested without a warrant while on his way to the offices of the Mozambique Human Rights League. He was held in Machava police station in Maputo province for some hours and transferred to the 1st Police station in Inhambane for two days before being taken to the Inhambane maximum security prison. He was charged with concealment of arms and incitement to violence and held for four months before being released pending trial.
  • On 18 April, 38 members of the opposition Democratic Movement of Mozambique (Movimento Democrático de Moçambique, MDM) were arrested during mayoral by-elections in the province of Inhambane. They were initially released without charge, but in August were accused of illegal campaigning at polling stations. The detainees said they were distributing food and water for the MDM polling station monitors. On 5 October they were convicted of alleged electoral offences and sentenced to two months' imprisonment without the option of a fine. Seven were tried in their absence.

Excessive use of force and unlawful killings

In July the Maputo Administrative Court ordered the state to pay 500,000 meticais (about US$17,000) in compensation to the mother of an 11-year-old boy who was killed by a stray bullet fired by police during violent demonstrations in Maputo in September 2010. No officer was held accountable. There were further cases of excessive use of force by the police during the year.

  • In July police shot and killed a 19-year-old man, known only as António, in the city of Nampula. António and a friend were reported to have driven a car into a police vehicle parked outside the 2nd police station in Nampula and failed to stop. Police pursued them and fired, hitting António, who died later. Police authorities told Amnesty International delegates in November that an investigation was being carried out. No further information was available at the end of the year.
  • In August, the district Police Commander in Ilha de Moçambique, Nampula province, beat a pregnant woman, resulting in her hospitalization. Police authorities said that the Commander had beaten her in his personal capacity during a private dispute. They stated that a disciplinary procedure had been instituted and that an investigation was being carried out. No further information was available at the end of the year.

Detention without trial

In at least three prisons in Maputo and two in Nampula, hundreds of people were held without trial, some without charge, for longer than the time legally allowed. Thousands of people remained similarly detained throughout the country.