“Doctor Sílvio Dala”

On the evening of 1 September 2020, pediatrician Sílvio Dala, 35 years old, was alone in his car when he was approached by agents of the PNA for not wearing a face mask. The agents took Sílvio to the Catotes police station, in the Rocha Pinto area, Luanda municipality. The police station did not have facilities for electronic payment of fines and Sílvio called a family member to come and help with the payment.

The circumstances that followed and led to the death of Silvio are unclear and currently under investigation. PNA agents claimed that while waiting at the police station, Silvio had malaise and passed out. As a result of this fall, he suffered a head injury and was then taken to Hospital da Prenda, but arrived there dead. The spokesperson for the Multisectoral Commission to Combat COVID-19, Commissioner Waldemar José, reported that the autopsy result confirmed that the pediatrician died of a cardiac arrest and he did not suffer any physical injury.

However, the National Union of Doctors of Angola (Sindicato Nacional dos Médicos Angolanos – SNMA) has contested the autopsy presented by the government. According to the SNMA, one of Sílvio’s colleagues went to the morgue of Hospital Josina Machel to identify the body and said that the cut on his forehead could not be a result of a fall. The SNMA also complained that the union’s representative, a pathologist, was not allowed by police officers to monitor the autopsy.

There is an ongoing judicial process to investigate the responsibility of police officers in the death of Sílvio. The police agents involved in the incident were suspended from work while the investigation is ongoing.

The colleague Sílvio left four children. The youngest is only three months old. The colleague's wife did not work. How will his family meet their ends after six months? Since the law allows six months of salary following the death of the employee. Sílvio's family, his parents, and close relatives relied on him for basic needs. Now, who is going to provide for this family?

Sebastião, doctor representative of SNMA, interviewed by Amnesty International and OMUNGA, 9 September 2020