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UA 183/94 - Angola: legal concern: Lourenco Adao Agostinho, William Tonet

, N° d'index: AFR 12/002/1994

There is concern at reports that Lourenco Adao Agostinho and William Tonet, recently arrested on criminal charges, are in fact being persecuted because of their human rights work. Lourenco Agostinho, Secretary General of the Angolan Human Rights Association (ADHA) was arrested on 5 May 1994 on charges of embezzlement. On 18 February 1994 he had been prevented at the airport from leaving the country to attend a seminar of non-governmental human rights organizations in Guinea-Bissau. His trial has been postponed until 24 May, and he is currently being held at a prison in Viana. William Tonet, President of ADHA was arrested between 28 and 30 April 1994 on charges of rape. He was released on bail on 9 May. It is believed these charges may be linked to the publication by the ADHA in January 1994 of a report criticizing prison conditions in Luanda.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 12/02/94
Distr: UA/SC
UA 183/94 Legal concern 11 May 1994
ANGOLA:Lourenço Adão Agostinho, human rights worker, journalist & Lawyer
William Tonet, human rights worker, journalist
Amnesty International is concerned by reports that Lourenço Adão Agostinho
and William Tonet, recently arrested on criminal charges, are in fact being
persecuted because of their human rights work. Lourenço Agostinho, Secretary
General of the Associação dos Direitos Humanos de Angola (ADHA), Angolan Human
Rights Association, was arrested on 5 May 1994 on charges of embezzlement.
William Tonet, President of ADHA, arrested between 28 and 30 April 1994 on
charges of rape, was released on bail on 9 May.
In 1990 Lourenço Agostinho was charged with embezzlement of a sum of money
(equivalent to about US$ 100) and "abuse of confidence" in connection with
a business transaction in the late 1980s, for which the penalty could be eight
to 12 years' imprisonment. He was detained on this charge in July 1990 and
released the following November on grounds of ill-health. He was never tried.
The case lay dormant until a warrant for Lourenço Agostinho's arrest was issued
on 6 February 1994 and published in a Luanda newspaper. A few weeks earlier,
in January 1994, the ADHA had published a report criticizing conditions in
prisons in Luanda and it appeared that this may have been the real reason for
the revival of the case. Despite the arrest warrant, no attempt was made to
arrest Lourenço Agostinho. However, on 18 February 1994, he was prevented from
leaving the country to attend a seminar of non-governmental human rights
organizations in Guinea-Bissau. He was reported to be in the airport departure
lounge, having completed exit formalities, when police forbade him to embark.
A trial date was set for 22 April 1994, but Lourenço Agostinho was unable to
make adequate preparation for his defence because the dossier containing
documents relevant to the case was not available for consultation. When he
arrived at the court, the 6
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Juiz Criminal, on 22 April, he was told that the
trial had been postponed until 24 May, but no reasons for the postponement
were given.
According to reports, Lourenço Agostinho was arrested at about 8 a.m. on 5
May as he was walking from his home to his car. At least six plain-clothes
police stopped him at gun-point and took him to the Direcção Nacional de
Investigação Criminal, National Directorate of Criminal Investigation. They
accused him of giving an interview to foreign journalists and complaining that
he was being harassed. He spent the night in the police station and was
transferred to a prison at Viana on the outskirts of Luanda. Lourenço Agostinho
and his defence counsel have reportedly not yet been able to consult the dossier
containing the case documents.
William Tonet is reported to have been arrested between 28 and 30 April. Police
announced on 30 April that he was being held on charges of raping a 16-year-old
girl. He is reported to have told a radio journalist at about the time of his
arrest that he knew the girl but that the charges of rape were "a series of
lies". William Tonet was released on bail 9 May: the deputy director of the
criminal investigation department reportedly admitted that his arrest had not
conformed to correct legal procedures.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes and airmail letters either
in Portuguese, English or in your own language:
- expressing concern that Lourenço Adão Agostinho and William Tonet have been
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subjected to what appears to be abuse of power motivated by an objection to
their human rights work;
- requesting clarification of the legal grounds for Lourenço Agostinho's arrest
when it was clear by his attendance at court on 22 April that he was not likely
to try to avoid being tried;
- expressing concern about the reported manner of his arrest at gun-point by
plain-clothes police who did not identify themselves;
- expressing concern that Lourenço Adão Agostinho has not been afforded adequate
opportunity to prepare his defence as access to the prosecution case has been
limited;
- urging that both Lourenço Adão Agostinho and William Tonet be given a full
opportunity to prepare their defence;
- urging that they be tried promptly and in full accord with Article 14 of
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Angola became
a party in 1992.
APPEALS TO
President:
Sua Excelência José Eduardo dos Santos
Presidente da República
Futungo de Belas
Luanda
República de Angola
Telegrams: Presidente da Republica, Luanda, Angola
Telex: 3072 Lugol an / 3345 gab pres an.
Salutation: Your Excellency
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Sua Excelência Venâncio da Silva Moura
Palácio do Comércio
Ministro das Relações Exteriores
Avenida Comandante Gika
Luanda
República de Angola
Telegrams: Ministro Moura, Ministerio Relacoes Exteriore, Luanda, Angola
Telex: 3127 / 3128 mirex an
Salutation: Your Excellency
Minister of Justice
Sua Excelência Paulo Chipilica
Minstro da Justiça
Ministério da Justiça
Luanda
República de Angola
Telegrams: Ministro Chipilica, Ministerio da Justica, Luanda, Angola
Salutation: Your Excellency
Procurator General
Exmo Sr. Dr. Antero Gruedosa Abreu
Procurador Geral da República
Procuradoria Geral da República
Luanda
República de Angola
Telegrams: Procurator Geral da Republica, Luanda, Angola
Salutation: Dear Sir/Dear Procurator General
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COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Exmo Sr. Rui Ferreira
Secretário dos Assuntos Jurídicos
Gabinete da Presidência da República
Futungo de Belas
Luanda
República de Angola
and to diplomatic representatives of Angola accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 22 June 1994.

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