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Court orders release of “Zeca Mutchima”, leader of Lunda Norte Protectorate

Luanda's Court of Appeal ordered the release of the leader of the Movement of the Portuguese Protectorate Lunda Tchokwe (MPPLT), José Mateus 'Zeca Mutchima', detained a year ago, his lawyer told Lusa.


According to Salvador Freire, Zeca Mutchima, currently detained in Benguela, is only waiting for the completion of the procedural steps to be released.

The MPPLT leader was sentenced, on February 25, 2022, to four and a half years in prison due to his alleged involvement in an "act of rebellion" that took place on January 30, 2021 in Cafunfo (Lunda Norte) which resulted an unknown number of dead and wounded.

Zeca Mutchima was tried in Luanda and later transferred to Benguela because "he has hypertension and was unable" in the jail where he was.

The leader of the Protectorate and 24 other co-accused were accused of the crimes of association of malefactors, armed rebellion, practice of outrage against the State and its symbols, but these accusations, indicated Salvador Freure, "all fell to the ground" during the sessions of trial and ended up convicted "just for belonging to the movement".

The lawyer lodged an appeal which determined the suspension of the sentence imposed by the court of 1st instance, which did not become final.

But Zeca Mutchima will be released due to the amnesty law that benefits prisoners who were in pre-trial detention.

The General Amnesty Law, which came into force in December last year, applies to citizens who committed common crimes, between November 12, 2015 and November 11, 2022, and were sentenced to sentences of up to eight years.

According to Salvador Freire, Zeca Mutchima will be released in the next few days, as soon as the court's district office sends the documents to the prison services and they send them to the prison where he is.

The leader of the movement was appointed by the authorities as the leader of the alleged "act of rebellion" that took place on January 30, 2021 in Cafunfo, a location rich in diamonds in the province of Lunda Norte.

According to the police, around 300 people linked to the MPPLT, which for years has defended the autonomy of that region rich in mineral resources, tried to invade, in the early hours of January 30, 2021, a police station in Cafunfo, with the forces of order and security reacting in his defense and fatally hit six people.

The police version is contradicted by MPPLT leaders, opposition political parties and local civil society who speak of more than a dozen dead.


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