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Defense

Cafunfo: PGR extends arrest of Zeca Mutchima that lawyer considers "illegal"

The Attorney General's Office (PGR) decided to extend for another two months the imprisonment of the leader of the Movement of the Portuguese Protectorate Lunda Tchokwe (MPPLT), José Mateus "Zeca Mutchima", announced Tuesday his lawyer, considering the measure as "illegal".

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According to Salvador Freire, lawyer for the MPPLT leader, arrested on February 8 following the incidents in Cafunfo, the note extending the detention of his client was issued by the PGR to the Criminal Investigation Service (SIC) in Lunda Norte.

"This note that came from the PGR is out of touch with any reason, because Zeca Mutchima has been detained for more than six months, so the term of preventive detention has already passed, and naturally we were surprised by this note that came from the PGR with the SIC in Lunda Norte," the lawyer told Lusa.

The new order "is already in force" because according to the Public Ministry (MP), said Salvador Freire, "it is not possible to find the other elements that participated in the demonstration.

"This mechanism is illegal. If they can't find the other elements, naturally, they have to release 'Zeca Mutchima', you can't arrest to investigate, you should investigate first and then arrest, this is against the principles of law", he noted.

Indicted for the crimes of "association of criminals and armed rebellion," following the incidents of January 30 in Cafunfo, which resulted in deaths and injuries, "Zeca Mutchima" is detained by the SIC in Luanda.

According to the police, about 300 people linked to the MPPLT, which for years has defended the autonomy of this region rich in mineral resources, tried to invade, in the early hours of 30 January, a police station in Cafunfo, province of Lunda Norte, and in defense 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".

Salvador Freire recalled that the preventive detention of his client "expired four months after his arrest, in the light of the new Angolan Penal Code, period in which he should be heard and if not should be released.

"We have never received an answer to all the requests that we have made regarding the excessive pre-trial detention, the last request we made, more than two months ago, we had no answer and finally an answer like this comes", he stressed.

The lawyer also believes that there is a "political hand" in this process "that makes 'Zeca Mutchima' remain in prison in Luanda without having been sent to Lunda Norte to answer in court the charges against him.

"I consider this to be a political case, because, evidently, there is no justice in this. We are facing a denial of justice, and that is why 'Zeca Mutchima' continues to be detained," concluded Salvador Freire.

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