Investigative journalist and human rights activist Rafael Marques will be heading to the dock after the Angolan government brought criminal charges against him for writing a book titled Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said yesterday.
Marques’ provocative book, published in Portugal in 2011, spilled the beans about Angola’s homicides, torture, forced displacement of civilian settlements, and intimidation of inhabitants in the diamond-mining areas of the country’s diamond-rich province.
The abuses were allegedly committed by Angolan soldiers and guards of Teleservice, the largest private security company in the country.
This is not the first time that Marques finds himself in the ‘corrupt’ microscope of Angolan courts, whose magistrates and judges are all members of the ruling MPLA, and do get an extra-salary and material benefits from the government.
The journalist, who got death threats in the past, was arrested in October 1999 and later charged with ‘defaming’ and ‘humiliating’ the head of the state, after publishing an article in his newspaper Folha 8.
Unhappy with the continuous unfair treatment of the journalist, the New York-based media watchdog and a host of organisations have written to Angola Attorney General João Maria de Sousa of Angola, asking that he drop the charges of defamation and libel that have been filed against the journalist and human rights activist.
“We are writing to express our concern about recent judicial actions taken against the Angolan journalist and human rights activist Rafael Marques de Morais,” the letter said.
Log in here to see the letter: www.cpj.org/blog/Support.Letter.Eng.pdf
Photo by ONE. Rafael Marques de Morais