The dropping of criminal libel charges against Angolan journalist, Rafael Marques de Morais, by the Luanda Provincial Tribunal is a victory for freedom of expression and human rights in the country, said Amnesty International today. The court dropped all charges after his appearance in court on May 21, 2015.
Amnesty International calls on the Angolan government to stop further targeting him for doing his work.
“The dropping of the charges against Rafael Marques de Morais is a clear demonstration that there was no case against him as we have been saying from the beginning. As a journalist, whose only crime was to document human rights violations in the country, we believe that he has always been innocent,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.
Rafael Marques de Morais was facing 24 criminal libel charges for publishing a book in Portugal in 2011 highlighting corruption and human rights violations allegedly committed by the Angolan army generals and companies operating in the country’s diamond communities.
Amnesty International has always maintained that charges brought against him were a mockery of freedom of expression and that they had to be dropped unconditionally.
Rafael Marques de Morais is a recipient of numerous prestigious international awards for his work as a journalist and has been recognised for his courage in doing his work. He has been arrested and detained several times in Angola.
Amnesty International has been following the trial since it began in March.