Urgent Action Update: Detained Journalist Denied Family Visits (Mozambique: UA 1.19)

Journalist Amade Abubacar was transferred from the Macomia district prison to Mieze prison in Pemba district, the capital of Cabo Delgado province on 24 January. Since then prison authorities have denied him family visits. He was allowed one supervised visit with members of a Commission of the Mozambican Bar Association and his lawyer on 25 January where he alleged that he had been subjected to ill-treatment while in military detention.





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Joaquim Veríssimo
Minister of Justice, Constitutional and Religious Affairs
Av. Julius Nyerere 33
Maputo, Mozambique
Email: [email protected], [email protected]
Salutation: Honorable Minister
H.E. Carlos Dos Santos
The Embassy of the Republic of Mozambique
1525 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20036
Phone: 202 293 7146 I Fax: 202 835 0245
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Honorable Minister Joaquim Veríssimo,

I would like to bring to your attention the case of Amade Abubacar, a local journalist with Nacedje community radio based in Macomia district, Cabo Delgado province, northern Mozambique. On 24 January, Amade was transferred from the Macomia district prison to Mieze prison in Pemba district, the capital of Cabo Delgado province. Since his arrival at this prison, the prison authorities have denied him family visits. Restrictions to Amade’s right of access to family amount to inhumane treatment.

On 25 January, a Commission of representatives of the Mozambican Bar Association alongside Amade’s lawyer were allowed a supervised visit with him at Mieze prison. The director of the prison stayed at the room during the meeting. Amade told the Commission that he had been subjected to ill-treatment by the military after his arrest on 5 January. He said that the military officers shook him several times and forced him to sleep handcuffed. He also confirmed being deprived of food for a few days. During the meeting, he complained of a headache, fever and pain in his body. Prior to his arrest, Amade had no health issues, but his health has been deteriorating in detention. Amade Abubacar is in detention being investigated on the crimes of “public incitement using electronic media” and “violation of State secrecy” under articles 322 and 323 of Mozambique’s Penal Code. He was arrested while interviewing internally displaced people in Macomia District. Amnesty International is very concerned with the treatment Amade Abubacar has been receiving in police custody.

I urge you to ensure that the Mozambican authorities immediately and unconditionally release Amade Abubacar; ensure that, pending his release, Amade Abubacar is protected from torture and other ill-treatment and that his conditions of detention are in line with international standards, including access to water, food and access to a proper health care; ensure that he is given prompt access to his family and is allowed regular visits by his family and lawyers; ensure that the right to freedom of expression and media freedom are fully respected and that journalists are able to carry out their work without fear of attacks, intimidation, harassment or censorship.

Yours sincerely,