Angola: Index award winner slammed with new defamation charges

Index on Censorship demands Angolan authorities halt judicial harassment of Rafael Marques de Morais and respect press freedom

23 Mar 2015
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP
Journalist and human rights activist Rafael Marques de Morais (Photo: Alex Brenner for Index on Censorship)

Journalist and human rights activist Rafael Marques de Morais (Photo: Alex Brenner for Index on Censorship)

Just days after being named the joint winner of the journalism award at the 15th Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards, Angolan journalist Rafael Marques de Morais appeared in court for exposing corruption and human rights abuses.

Marques was confronted with up to 15 additional charges when he arrived in court on 24 March. The case was later adjourned until 23 April.

He also tweeted that a number of protesters outside the courthouse had been arrested.

Marques’ leading investigative work into corruption and human rights abuses at Angola’s diamond companies was distilled into his 2011 book Blood Diamonds: Torture and Corruption in Angola. He recounted 500 cases of torture and 100 murders of villagers living near diamond mines, carried out by private security companies and military officials.

Marques declared the bosses of these groups morally responsible for the atrocities committed under them, and filed charges of crimes against humanity against seven Angolan generals. After his case was dropped by the prosecution, the generals launched a series of retaliation lawsuits in Angola and Portugal, charging Marques with criminal libel.

The suit demands a total of £800,ooo from Marques. He could face up to nine years in prison.

Index on Censorship calls for Angolan authorities to drop all charges against Rafael Marques de Morais and respect press freedom.

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This article was posted on 23 March 2015 at indexoncensorship.org

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