journalist and human rights defender Mr Domingos da Cruz
journalist and human rights defender Mr Domingos da Cruz
journalist and human rights defender Mr Domingos da Cruz

Sr. Jorge Carneiro Mangueira

Ministro da Justi?a

Rua17 de Setembro

Luanda

Angola

Tel: +244 22 2336045

Fax:+244 222 339914 / 330 / 327

Email:[email protected]

http://www.minjus.gov.ao

Your Excellency,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human rights defender and Freelance journalist.

I would like to draw your attention to the following case.

On 21 June 2015, journalist and human rights defender Mr Domingos da Cruz was arrested. He is currently detained in the 29th police station in Luanda. On the afternoon of 20 June 2015, at least four human rights defenders, Messrs Afonso Mayenda (also known as Mbanza Hanza), Luaty Beir?o, Manuel Nito Alves, and Albano Bingo, along with nine youth activists, were detained by the national police and the National Directorate for Criminal Investigation (DNIC in portuguese). According to reports, Luaty Beir?o and Manuel Nito Alves are being held in detention in the 29th police station in Luanda. Albano Bingo is held in detention in the 10th police station in the neighbourhood of Cazenga. Afonso Mayenda is detained in the 9th police station in the neighbourhood of Lagostas. Although no charges have been formalised against the human rights defenders, it is believed that they were arrested on suspicion of planning to overthrow the government. The nine youth activists are reportedly being detained across several police stations in the city of Luanda.

Domingos da Cruz is a journalist, human rights defender, and recently published author of a book entitled?Tools to destroy a dictator and avoid a new dictatorship?(in portuguese, ?Ferramentas para Destruir o Ditador e Evitar Nova Ditadura). In the book, the author details principles of civil disobedience. Domingos da Cruz is also the Coordinator of the Observat?rio de Imprensa (Observatory of the Press), a platform created in December 2014 with the aim of monitoring the Angolan Press in order to defend democracy and freedom of expression. Manuel Nito Alves and Albano Bingo are members of the youth group ‘Movimento Revolucion?rio’ (Revolutionary Movement), which peacefully advocates for human rights, democracy and accountability in Angola. Since 2012, the Movement has been known for organising various peaceful demonstrations, which have been regularly repressed by the police, in the country’s capital of Luanda. Luaty Beir?o, a musician and Mbanza Hamza, a professor, are both members of Central Angola 7311, an online platform created by young activists to document human rights violations. They have also recently been involved in the preparation of the?Buzina S??social justice campaign, which is being organised through social media.

The human rights defenders were arrested on the afternoon of 20 June 2015, while participating in a conference on the?Philosophy of peaceful revolution, being given by Domingos da Cruz in the neighbourhood of Vila Alice in Luanda. Immediately following their arrest, the human rights defenders were brought by police officers and members of the criminal investigation office to their respective homes, and had their photos and computers confiscated.

The Criminal Investigation Office of the Ministry of Interior issued a press release on the day of their arrests, declaring that it had ?undertaken a number of actions which have culminated in the detention in flagrente delicto of 13 citizens who were preparing to carry out acts that would undermine the order and public safety of the country?, and that, ?during this operation, a number of means of proof have been confiscated.

This is not the first time that the human rights defenders have been arrested and detained by the police. In March 2013, Manuel Nito Alves, Luaty Beir?o and Mbanza Hamza were arrested and detained shortly before the start of a demonstration in the capital Luanda, scheduled in solidarity with two human rights defenders who disappeared in 2012. At the time, Mbanza Hamza, was beaten by police. The human rights defenders were released without charge on 30 March 2013.

I express concern at the arrests and detention of the abovementioned human rights defenders. I believe these actions to be directly motivated by their legitimate exercise of the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

I urge the authorities in Angola to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release the above mentioned human rights defenders, as Front Line Defenders believes that they are being detained as a result of their legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights;

2. Bring about the immediate return of the confiscated possessions of the human rights defenders, in particular their computers;

3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Angola are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

Sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes

Human Rights Defender & ?Freelance Journalist

Twitter @wnicholasgomes

Email: [email protected]

www.facebook.com/williamnicholasgomes

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.