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Lawyer criticizes court for preventive detention of activists

The lawyer of the activists "Tanaice Neutro" and "Luther King" criticized this Monday the maintenance of the prison of his clients, one of whom has been sentenced to a suspended sentence and the other in the trial phase, but detained for more than a year.


The arrest of the two young people has sparked protests on the part of civil society, with a march being planned last Saturday calling for the release of the "political prisoners". The initiative was, however, blocked by the National Police, which arrested and attacked a group of activists.

Gilson da Silva Moreira "Tanaice Neutro" was sentenced, on October 12, 2022, to a suspended prison sentence of 1 year and three months for committing the crime of outrage against the State, its symbols and organs.

The trial sentence of the activist, arrested in January 2022, was read by the judge in the case, Daniel Ferreira, in the 1st section of the District Court of Luanda, which upheld, as partially proven, the prosecution's accusation (MP).

According to the court, it was proved that the activist "Tanaice Neutro", 35 years old, committed the crime of outrage against the State, its symbols and organs for having called the President a "bandit and clown" and having attributed the same name to the staff of the national police, in the videos that the activist recorded and shared on social networks.

However, the court suspended the execution of the sentence imposed for a period of two years under the condition that the defendant withdraws from the entities injured in the process and by the same means within a period of 15 days.

The Public Prosecutor's Office expressed dissatisfaction with the judge's decision and lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal, "which should immediately go up in the file with suspensive effect", according to the lawyer for "Tanaice Neutro", Francisco Muteka.

Speaking to Lusa, the lawyer regretted the maintenance of his preventive detention, believing in the extension of that period due to the number of cases under consideration in the Court of Appeal (court of appeal).

"The process has now gone up, with the processes that it already has in the Court of Appeal and are being considered, which means that this same process can take three to six months, hence the democratic criminal procedure recommends that the judge should decide in favor of the defendant, with weighting and flexibility", he pointed out.

He also considered that maintaining the prison of the 35-year-old activist "violates" the principles of the presumption of innocence, fair trial and others that have to do with the dignity of the human person and the reinforcement of the guarantee of the legal process.

Francisco Muteka also lamented the health condition of "Tanaice Neutro", believing, however, in a favorable position for medical assistance to the activist.

"What the court should do in this case was to change the coercive measure of preventive detention of the defendant, because it is a case in which the defendant has already served more than half of the sentence of which he was convicted in the first instance", the lawyer, Francisco Muteka, told Lusa this Monday about "Tanaice Neutro", recalling that he has been in preventive detention for over ten months.

Muteka recalled that Gilson da Silva Moreira "Tanaice Neutro" was acquitted of three crimes that he had been accused of and sentenced, in October 2022, to a suspended sentence of one year and three months, referring to the court "going wrong" in not appreciating the appeal before moving up to the other instance.

"(The defendant) spent more than half of the time in preventive detention, so the judge could not raise the case without changing the coercive measure, hence saying that the defendant runs the risk of staying longer than he was sentenced, because he has been there for 10 months", he stressed.

Modern criminal procedure "recommends changing the coercive measure, which would be preventive detention, to the term of identity and residence in addition to periodical presentation, it is the most correct measure that the court should take", he defended.

The lawyer also spoke about the trial of activist Luther Campos, which began last December, and criticized the excessive preventive detention of the defendant, "for more than 12 months without a conviction in the first instance".

"It means that the judge should restore freedom to the accused and give the possibility to defend himself in freedom, because preventive detention is not the rule, but the exception and, therefore, freedom is the rule", he pointed out.

Luther Campos, also considered a "political prisoner", is being tried in the 4th section of the District Court of Luanda for the crimes of criminal association, outrage, rebellion and resistance against a public official.

His lawyer also contested the extension of his preventive detention, for another two months, without any justification by the judge of the case.

"Now, in a specific case, the judge also went wrong, because the extension of the period of preventive detention is only done in those cases where the law determines, such as cases of special complexity and not in this, which is a simple process", concluded Francisco Muteka.


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