Ver Angola


Angolans held in Luanda for contempt began to be heard

A group of 35 Angolans detained for contempt in recent days began this Monday to be heard at the Luanda District Court, in a summary process, which involves anonymous citizens who complain of police abuse.


To Lusa, none of the 32 men and three women presented themselves as activists and all complained of police arbitrariness and poor detention conditions.

"My client was at the wrong time in the wrong place," said Francisco Damião, the only lawyer appointed for one of the defendants. The rest stayed with unofficial lawyers appointed by the justice for the summary process, which will be judged this Monday.

"It's the first time I've been arrested. It was on the Primeiro de Maio and I saw people running from the police and I ran too", one of the defendants told Lusa who filled the space destined for the hearing in one of the rooms of the Ana Joaquina Palace.

For Largo Primeiro de Maio, a demonstration was called on social networks on Saturday morning, access to which was prevented by the police authorities.

Wearing a black t-shirt and visibly dejected, another defendant told Lusa that he is not involved in politics and refuses any connection to opposition parties or social activism.

"I work, I have my life. I even voted for the MPLA [Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola]", he said.

Another defendant explained the conditions of detention: "The men all slept in the Command (General of the Luanda Police), in the same cell, with bad food, without a bed with nothing".

This Monday morning, relatives of the accused delivered food to the detainees in the courtroom, fruit, drink and cookies that were shared in small groups.

The discomfort of being in court and in front of the journalists present in the room was evident. "Don't film me that my father doesn't know I'm here", said another of the defendants.

Of the detainees contacted by Lusa, none said they had already been arrested nor invoked any political motivation for the accusation of "contempt and disorder", invoked by the authorities.

A 16-year-old young man in an orange t-shirt has slept under the roof for the past two nights and is one of the few who has not complained about the conditions.

"I live on the street, I was arrested for begging on the First of May", explained the young man.

The authorities have reinforced policing in sensitive areas of the city and have prevented any demonstration by opponents or activists against the results of the August 24 elections.

The provisional data released by the National Electoral Commission (CNE) indicate a victory with an absolute majority for the MPLA, a result already contested by the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).


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