PUBLIC AI Index: AFR 42/04/98
This is a limited action. Please restrict appeals to 20 per section
10 June 1998
Further information on UA 161/98 (AFR 42/02/98, 21 May 1998) - Fear for safety
of human rights activist / Possible "disappearance" and new concern: Forcible
NAMIBIA/ANGOLAManuel Sahanda Neto, doctor of geology and Executive Director
of the Angolan Human Rights League in Namibia
Manuel Sahanda Neto, an Angolan national with refugee status in Namibia, has
not been seen since reportedly being forcibly returned to Angola. Amnesty
International fears for his safety as it believes he may be at risk of
ill-treatment and torture.
A statement made by the Namibian Minister of Interior on 27 May 1998 indicated
that Manuel Sahanda Neto was handed over to the Angolan authorities on 19 May
1998, one day after he was arrested in Namibia.
It was also reported that files belonging to The Angolan Human Rights League
(LADH), of which Manuel Neto was Director, were handed over to the Angolan
authorities at the same time. The LADH is a recently established
non-governmental organization in Namibia.
The Namibian authorities have claimed that the reason for Manuel Sahanda Neto’s
arrest and deportation was linked to his human rights activities which they
claimed was a threat to their national security -- despite the peaceful and
non-violent nature of his work. The Namibian Home Office had reportedly
informed him, just prior to his arrest, that his directorship of the LADH was
incompatible with his refugee status and that they feared he may use his position
to criticize the Angolan Government.
The reported forcible return apparently took place despite a High Court
injunction, taken out on 19 May in the capital Windhoek, blocking such a move.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail
letters TO THE ANGOLAN AUTHORITIES, in Portuguese or in your own language:
- expressing concern that Manuel Sahanda Neto has not been seen since his
deportation to Angola at Namibia’s Oshikango Border Post on 19 May 1998;
- requesting information as to his current whereabouts and seeking urgent
assurances that he will be safeguarded against any form of ill-treatment or
- asking that the reason for his arrest and place of detention be made immediately
- calling for his immediate and unconditional release, unless he is promptly
charged with a recognizably criminal offence.
APPEALS TO: (Please note that fax tones to Angola are obtainable on an erratic
basis. The following message may be heard “the number you have dialled has
not been recognized, please check and try again” at odd times but may work
some moments later).
José Eduardo dos Santos
Presidente da República