Ver Angola


Activist Luther 'King' Campos sentenced to one year and 10 months in prison with suspended sentence

Activist Luther 'King' Campos was sentenced this Friday to one year and ten months in prison for the crime of public instigation, with sentence suspended for a period of five years.

: Borralho Ndomba/DW
Borralho Ndomba/DW  

The sentence of the activist, considered a "political prisoner" by civil society organizations, was read by the judge in charge of the case, Biscai Cassoma.

According to the judge, it was only proven that the defendant committed the crime of public instigation, and crimes of outrage against the State, its symbols and bodies, rebellion and criminal association were not proven.

The ruling dictated a sentence of one year and 10 months in prison, payment of 100,000 kwanzas in court fees and unofficial compensation to the State in the amount of 500,000 kwanzas.

The judge, however, decided to suspend the sentence for a period of five years "for reasons of serious illness" of the defendant, "under the condition that he does not again commit crimes of the same nature that generate similar situations".

Luther Campos, arrested on January 12, 2022, following a taxi drivers' strike in Luanda, was initially accused and pronounced of crimes of outrage against the State, its symbols and bodies, rebellion and criminal association and instigation to crime.

According to Biscai Cassoma, the sentence arises because the court partially judged the public accusation, and for this reason the activist was only convicted as "material author of the crime of public instigation in the sentence of three years in prison".

"By legal requirement, the sentence applied must be deducted from the periods of time in which the defendant was deprived of his liberty, by virtue of the personal coercive measure imposed on him, remaining to serve the period corresponding to one year and 10 months in prison", he explained.

The penal framework now applied was, however, suspended for five years.

The magistrate, in reading and answering the questions, in the session in the 4th section of the District Court of Luanda, realized that it has not been proven that Luther Campos has sent messages with abusive content to the President of the Republic and deputies and intentionally disseminated.

The well-known activist, quite interventionist and critical of the Angolan regime, also did not say, underlined the judge in the presentation of the questions, that "this country belongs to the banana father and that in 2022 we rebelled and that the MPLA, the party in power, was a thief".

It was not proven, added Biscai Cassoma, that the activist would have uttered offenses to the President, but, it was proved, that he recorded videos "that incite the practice of rebellion" according to a monitoring carried out by the Criminal Investigation Service.

The judge in the case, on the same occasion, issued and signed the warrant for the release of the accused, in a session that took place in the presence of police apparatus in front of and in the vicinity of the court.

Francisco Muteka, Luther Campos' representative, in statements to journalists, expressed himself partially satisfied with the court's decision, noting that the defense will "consider" in a "calm and serene" way whether it is worth appealing.

"Initially the defense will consider whether to appeal this same decision, because we are partially not satisfied with the decision, but it is still noticeable and we understand the position of the court," he said.

For the lawyer, who defended the acquittal of his constituent of all crimes, the judge's decision was "partially ambiguous, partially anti-legal, partially inappropriate".

"Therefore, it is a reason for us to rethink our justice system, aiming at a fair decision compatible with the rule of law", added the lawyer.


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