Angola: Luanda Buch Club-Aktivisten auf Bewährung freigelassen

Rapid Action Network: 8. Juli 2016 – Update #1 zu RAN 07/16

Der internationale PEN begrüßt die Entscheidung des Obersten Gerichtshofes in Angola vom 29. Juni 2016, den Schriftsteller Domingos da Cruz und 16 weitere Aktivisten, die mit ihm eingesperrt waren, freizulassen. Bekannt als „Luanda Buch Club“, waren die Aktivisten im Juni 2015 verhaftet und im März 2016 zu zwei bis acht Jahren Haft verurteilt worden, da man sie wegen „vorbereitenden Handlungen zur Rebellion“ und „krimineller Verschwörung“ für schuldig befunden hatte. Nun hat der Oberste Gerichtshof die vorübergehende Freilassung der Aktivisten angeordnet, zumindest solange, bis das Verfassungsgericht endgültig über die Berufung der Aktivisten entschieden hat. Der internationale PEN ist der Meinung, dass die Aktivisten wegen der Ausübung ihrer Rechte auf Meinungs- und Versammlungsfreiheit niemals hätten gerichtlich verfolgt werden dürfen. Daher fordert der internationale PEN die Behörden dazu auf, sämtliche Verurteilungen und Strafen unverzüglich aufzuheben.

RAN 07 16 AngolaDas jüngste Mitglied der Gruppe, Nito Alves, wurde am 29. Juni nicht wie die anderen Aktivisten freigelassen, weil er eine sechsmonatige Haftstrafe wegen Missachtung des Gerichts zu verbüßen hatte. Er wurde später, am 5. Juli, auf Anordnung des Verfassungsgerichts freigelassen. Den 17 Aktivisten ist es nicht gestattet, das Land zu verlassen, und sie sind gezwungen, monatlich bei den Behörden vorstellig zu werden, solange sie auf das Ergebnis ihres Revisionsantrags warten.

Die Freilassung der Aktivisten erfolgte kurz nachdem weltweite Proteste den Jahrestag ihrer Inhaftierung in den Fokus rückten und ihre Freilassung forderten, und infolge der Feststellung der UN-Arbeitsgruppe für willkürliche Inhaftierungen, dass die Aktivisten tatsächlich willkürlich festgenommen worden waren. Berichten zufolge gingen die Aktivisten nach ihrer Freilassung durch die Straßen der Hauptstadt, Luanda, und riefen: „Lesen ist kein Verbrechen!“

Unternehmen Sie etwas: Teilen Sie den Artikel auf Facebook, Twitter und in anderen sozialen Netzwerken

Schreiben Sie Protestbriefe:

  • Begrüßen Sie die bedingte bzw. vorübergehende Freilassung des Schriftstellers Domingos da Cruz und der 16 anderen Aktivisten, die mit ihm studierten
  • Rufen Sie die angolanischen  Behörden dazu auf, die Verurteilungen der 17 Aktivisten fallenzulassen.

Schreiben Sie an:

S.E. den Botschafter der Republik Angola
Herrn Alberto Correia Neto
Botschaft der Republik Angola
Wallstraße 58
10179 Berlin
botschaft [at] botschaftangola [dot] de

Hintergrund (bereitgestellt vom internationalen PEN)

The activists were arrested after attending a book club where they had gathered to study Domingos da Cruz’s unpublished manuscript, Tools to Destroy a Dictatorship and Avoiding a New Dictatorship – Political Philosophy for the Liberation of Angola (inspired by US academic Gene Sharp’s book From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation.)  Sharp’s book is described as a blueprint for non-violent resistance to repressive regimes and the activists had met to discuss politics and governance issues. Thirteen of the activists were arrested on 20 June 2015 at the meeting. Domingos da Cruz had been due to attend the meeting but did not and he was arrested the following day on 21 June 2015. Osvaldo Caholo was arrested on 24 June 2015. Two others, Laurinda Gouveia and Rosa Conde, were later charged in connection with the case, but were not initially detained.

Between June and December 2015, 15 of the activists were in jail and some held in solitary confinement. All of the 17 activists were formally charged on 16 September with ‘preparatory acts of rebellion’ and ‘plotting against the president’. Their trial started on 16 November 2015 and was marred by irregularities, leading to fair trial concerns. Two of the activists alleged that they had been tortured and several of the activists went on hunger strike at various points to protest their charges and the delays in the trial. In December 2015, the Luanda Provincial Tribunal approved the demand of the public prosecutor to transfer the activists to house arrest, where they stayed until they were sentenced.

The charge of ‘plotting against the president’ was dropped by the prosecution on 21 March 2016 and on 28 March 2016, they were sentenced to between two to eight years in prison and fined 50,000 kwanza (around 300 USD) for ‘preparatory acts of rebellion’ and ‘criminal conspiracy’. Da Cruz was sentenced to eight-and- a-half years in prison for ‘leading the criminal association’. Beirão was sentenced to five-and-a-half years for ‘falsifying documents’. The others all received prison sentences ranging from two years to four-and-a-half years. In February, Nito Alves was also given an additional six month jail sentence for contempt of court for complaining about the trial. Another activist who had been attending the trial also called the trial a sham, according to reports, and was sentenced to eight months in prison for contempt of court, where he remains.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) delivered an Opinion on the case of the activists on 31 May 2016 and concluded that the activists were ‘arrested and detained because of the exercise of their freedom of assembly, opinion and expression in violation of Articles 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights’. The Working Group called for immediate steps to remedy the situation, namely to release the activists, compensate them accordingly and put an end to the unlawful criminal proceedings against them.

The 17 activists include writer, journalist and university lecturer Domingos da Cruz, author of the manuscript they were reading at the book club; journalist and law student Sedrick de Carvalho, the book’s designer; university lecturer Nuno Alvaro Dala, one of the lecturers of the seminars/discussions. Also arrested were hip-hop artists Henrique Luaty da Silva Beirão, Hitler Jessy Chivonde (also a university student) and José Gomes Hata (also a teacher).  The other activists are Manuel Chivonde (known as Nito Alves), Nelson Dibango Mendes dos Santos, Albano Evaristo Bingobingo, Fernando Antonio Tomas, Arante Kivuvu Italiano Lopes, Afonso Matias (Mbanza Hanza), Benedito Jeremias, Inocencio Antonio de Brito, Osvaldo Sergio Correia Caholo, Laurinda Gouveia and Rosa Conde.

While he was still in prison, Nuno Dala released his book ‘The Political Thought of Young Revus: Speech and Action’ (‘O Pensamento Político dos Jovens Revús – Discurso e Acção’) which he had been working on when he was arrested.

Die Kommentarfunktion ist geschlossen.