Angola authorities must release Tanaice Neutro, an activist who is being detained arbitrarily for more than 500 days despite suffering from severe health issues, Amnesty International said today.
It is a travesty of justice that Tanaice Neutro remains in detention more than 500 days later.Tigere Chagutah, Deputy Director for East and Southern Africa, Amnesty International
Tanaice Neutro was arrested on 13 January 2022 after he allegedly shared a video online in which he called Angolan President João Lourenço a “clown” and said the Angolan authorities are “ignorant”. He has been arbitrarily detained since then despite a court order for his release due to his ill health in October 2022.
He has been suffering from severe physical health conditions, including intense headaches and fever, and urgently requires surgery for a condition that prevents him from receiving proper nutrition. There have also been grave concerns over his mental health.
Angolan authorities must comply with their obligations under international human rights law and ensure that Neutro receives urgent medical attention.Tigere Chagutah
“It is a travesty of justice that Tanaice Neutro remains in detention. Despite the court ordering his release, the Angolan authorities continue to refuse granting him liberty. He, along with all others who are being detained in the country merely for exercising their right to protest, should be immediately and unconditionally released,” said Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.
“Tanaice Neutro’s ongoing detention and denial of medical care may amount to torture and other ill-treatment. Angolan authorities must comply with their obligations under international human rights law and ensure that he receives urgent medical attention.”
Tanaice Neutro is a musician and activist who explores social issues in Angola, including poverty, corruption and the repression of human rights, in his songs. In October 2022, he was handed a suspended sentence of 15 months following his conviction on charges of expressing “outrage against the State and its symbols”.
Despite the court ordering Tanaice Neutro’s release, the Angolan authorities continue to refuse granting him liberty.Tigere Chagutah
“Peaceful protest is not a crime and without it, we cannot contribute to debates on matters of public interest and initiate positive change. The Angolan authorities must immediately stop suppressing and criminalizing dissent and instead respect, protect, promote and fulfil the human rights of everyone including the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly,” said Tigere Chagutah.
Globally, the right to protest is facing unprecedented threats. In its flagship campaign, Protect the Protest, Amnesty International is working to expose when the right to protest is being violated and support movements worldwide as they strive for positive change. The campaign calls on governments to send a clear message that protesters should be protected and to remove unnecessary barriers and restrictions to peaceful protest.
Over the last three years, the Angolan authorities have shown their ruthless determination to crush peaceful dissent, including through the unlawful killing and arbitrary arrest of protesters. The authorities have introduced repressive measures targeting those who wish to exercise their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.
Angolan law enforcement officials regularly use excessive force to break up peaceful protests and suppress dissent.