Mr. João Maria de Sousa
Attorney General of Angola
Rua 17 De Setembro-Luanda,
I write to you in the hope that you may use your influence to make right a terrible injustice regarding the unlawful conviction of Rafael Marques de Morais in May 2015. He was convicted solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. It is important to note that Angola is a signer to The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 19 of that Declaration protects the Right to Freedom of Expression.
Rafael Marques de Morais is an internationally well respected journalist who dared write a book exposing human rights abuses and corruption in the diamond fields in Angola. He also attempted to bring to account those he held complicit in the abuses, military generals and mining companies.
For that, he was charged with various crimes that infringe on his right to free speech and for which international tribunals, including the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights, has decreed should not carry a criminal punishment.
According to an Amnesty International report:
- Rafael Marques de Morais was convicted solely for raising his voice to call attention to abuses in the diamond fields in Angola;
- Rafael Marques de Morais’s trial did not meet international standards for fairness;
- Rafael Marques de Morais continues to be harassed by government as he continues his valuable investigative journalism.
I join the hundreds of thousands of human rights activist around the world who call upon your government to quash this unfair conviction. In the absence of that action, please help insure that Rafael Marques de Morais receives a fair appeal in line with international fair trial standards.
Finally, we call on you to end the practice of harassment and intimidation of journalist’s, human rights defenders any other activists’. Please uphold the rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression in Angola.
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