The trial of Angolan journalist, Rafael Marques de Morais, is a mockery of freedom of expression and charges against him must be immediately and unconditionally dropped, said Amnesty International today as he returned to court in a criminal libel trial.
Rafael Marques de Morais faces more than 20 defamation 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.
The case against Rafael Marques de Morais demonstrates a sustained attack on an individual and the right to freedom of expression in Angola. He is being targeted for simply expressing his thoughts about societal wrongs in the country. This must stop.Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for Southern Africa.
Rafael Marques de Morais is a recipient of numerous prestigious international awards and has been recognised for his courageous journalistic work. He has been arrested and detained several times in Angola.
Amnesty International has been following the trial since it began last month.
“Rafael Marques de Morais has a long history of working to hold the Angolan government to account for human rights abuses and corruption through his insightful, thoughtful and well regarded journalistic investigations. This is simply a backlash against a man who has fought to expose the worst excesses of the state,” said Noel Kututwa.
Previous attempts to charge him with defamation for publishing the same book in Portugal by those implicated, including military officials and diamond mining officials, failed after the case was dismissed by the court.