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Cafunfo: Lawyer says Lunda Movement Leader is a "political prisoner" held for "untruths"

The lawyer Salvador Freire considered this Friday a "political prisoner" the leader of the Movement of the Portuguese Protectorate Lunda Tchokwe (MPPLT), detained in Luanda since February 8, following the incidents of Cafunfo.

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According to the lawyer of José Mateus "Zeca Mutchima", his client has no formal accusation, "there is nothing that accuses him as the mentor of an armed rebellion, that there is involvement of foreigners and that they had the intention to divide the country".

"It is not true, the only thing that takes Zeca Mutchima and his coreligionists to jail is for the simple fact that they held a demonstration," Salvador Freire said this Friday in an interview with Lusa.

José Mateus "Zeca Mutchima" is arrested in Luanda by the Criminal Investigation Service (SIC), since last February 8, indicted for the crimes of "association of malefactors and armed rebellion".

According to the police, about 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, a police station in Cafunfo, province of Lunda Norte, and in defense of the forces of order and security shot dead six people.

The police version is contradicted by the leaders of the MPPLT, political parties in the opposition and local civil society that speak of more than a dozen deaths.

Zeca Mutchima is pointed out by the authorities as the ringleader of this alleged "act of rebellion" that for the local citizens was a "peaceful demonstration".

This Friday, his lawyer reiterated that the accusations against his constituent are full of "untruths", because Zeca Mutchima "has never been in Lunda Norte, where he is being prosecuted".

The MPPLT "is a group of Angolan citizens, it doesn't have in its core foreigners as many people pretend to insinuate, it's not an armed group, it's a civic group of citizens who have held several demonstrations since the era of the former Angolan president," he said.

According to Salvador Freire, Zeca Mutchima is still detained in Luanda waiting to be forwarded to the SIC of Lunda Norte, but, he noted, the "authorities are unable to inform" why he remains in the capital.

"And we are concerned as lawyers," he stressed.

The lawyer has spoken regularly with his client and that a habeas corpus has already been applied for so that he can answer the charges in freedom.

"That is our goal, for now he remains here in Luanda and we do not know when he will go to Lunda Norte," concluded Salvador Freire, also president of the human rights civil association "Mãos Livres" (Free Hands).

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