Angola: Index condemns jailing of 17 activists for anti-government “rebellion”

Four of the Angolan activists in detention earlier this week. Photograph: Pedrowski Teca

Four of the Angolan activists in detention. Photograph: Pedrowski Teca

Index is appalled at the sentencing of Angolan activists whose “crime” was taking part in a reading group discussing ideas of democracy.

Members of the group were arrested last June after discussing author Gene Sharp’s 1993 work From Dictatorship to Democracy – about non violent resistance – at their book club.

They were sentenced on Monday 28 March to between two and eight-and-a-half years each. Rapper Luaty Beiro, one of the 17, was given a five and a half year sentence for “rebellion against the president of the republic, criminal association and falsifying documents”.

Activist Domingos da Cruz, singled-out as the group’s “leader”, was given an eight-and-a-half year sentence for planning a coup and for criminal association.

“It is a year since Index awarded a Freedom of Expression prize to Angolan journalist Rafael Marques de Morais,” said index CEO Jodie Ginsberg. “These latest sentences show how dire the situation remains for anyone who questions Angola’s regime.”

Index on Censorship urges international governments to condemn these sentences and for the Angolan government to uphold its commitments to human rights and freedom of expression.