Angola: Detention of activists part of crackdown on dissent
The detention of four human rights activists and a journalist is the latest sign of an increasing crackdown on dissent and blatant violations of the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association in Angola, said Amnesty International today.
The four activists and a Radio Deutsche Welle correspondent were detained for over eight hours yesterday during a visit to Calomboloca prison, Luanda Province, where they were visiting prisoners of conscience jailed last month. On their release they were ordered to present themselves to the Municipal prosecutor for a hearing today.
“The arbitrary detention of these activists is a clear ploy by the Angolan police and authorities to harass and intimidate anyone who associates with those standing up against the oppressive regime. These tactics are designed to close the space for freedom of expression, assembly and association and this must stop,” said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.
The activists were accused of intending “to make politics in the prison” while the journalist was detained for simply taking a picture of the front of the prison.
The group also had its equipment seized.
“It is shocking that anyone should be detained simply for visiting activists in prison, or for taking a photograph. Angolan police must stop abusing their powers and concentrate on ensuring safety and security for all Angolans,” said Noel Kututwa.
Angolan authorities have increasingly targeted human rights defenders and those who are calling for accountability in the country in recent years. Many people have been forcibly disappeared, killed, arbitrarily arrested and tortured by security forces for speaking out against President José Eduardo dos Santos’ 36-year-rule.
On 21 June 2015, more than a dozen activists were arrested in Luanda where they were attending a meeting to discuss human rights violations and governance concerns.
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