Diamonds. Murder. Torture. Broken promises. Important officials. International players. All the elements of a gripping narrative told in a Hollywood blockbuster. Except this isn’t fiction, and the person on trial was the journalist who made sure the world knew the story.
Rafael Marques de Morais, Angolan journalist and human rights defender, spent the last nearly three years defending his right to tell what happened to the miners and villagers in the Lunda Norte diamond fields region.
He alleged in a book that seven Angolan generals and two mining companies were complicit in the human rights violations he documented. Those generals and the companies then sued him for criminal defamation, first in Portugal where the book was published and then in Angola.
He was facing over 10 years in prison and a fine of $1.2 million US dollars but all charges were dropped.