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Angola imprisons activist for demonstration that did not happen

This statement was originally published on freedomhouse.org on 16 September 2015

In response to a provincial court decision to convict and sentence Angolan human rights activist José Marcos Mavungo to six years in prison on charges of rebellion for his alleged role in planning an anti-government protest that did not even take place, Freedom House issued the following statement:

"The court's trial and conviction of Mavungo is an utter mockery of Angolan law, and contravenes Articles 40, 47 and 48 of the Angolan Constitution, which guarantee freedom of expression, assembly and association without hindrance," said Vukasin Petrovic, director of Africa programs. "We strongly urge the Angolan government to release Mavungo unconditionally, along with all other detained human rights defenders, and respect citizens' constitutionally-protected rights."

Background:

José Marcos Mavungo was arrested in March 2015 following his attempt to organize a peaceful demonstration in the city of Cabinda. The government claimed his demonstration was linked to men allegedly possessing explosives and pamphlets in Cabinda. No evidence was presented at trial that Mavungo ties to the men, nor was evidence presented of explosives and pamphlets.

Angola is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2015, and Not Free inFreedom of the Press 2015.

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