Angola : Arbitrary arrest and detention of thirteen members of the Revolutionary Movement and of Mr. Domingos da Cruz

29/06/2015
Appel urgent

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arrest of thirteen members of the Revolutionary Movement, a group of youth activists advocating for democracy, political changes and human rights in Angola, and of Mr. Domingos da Cruz, journalist.

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

AGO 001 / 0615 / OBS 053
Arbitrary detention / Judicial harassment /
Ill-treatment
Angola
June 29, 2015

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Angola.

Description of the situation :

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arrest of thirteen members of the Revolutionary Movement, a group of youth activists advocating for democracy, political changes and human rights in Angola, and of Mr. Domingos da Cruz, journalist.

According to the information received, on June 20, 2015, while members of the Revolutionary Movement were holding a meeting in Luanda to discuss the human rights situation and bad governance prevailing in Angola, police forces entered the place and arrested thirteen youth activists from the organisation, namely Messrs. Luaty Beirão Da Silva, Manuel Nito Alves, Nuno Alvaro Dala, Nelson Mendes Dos Santos, Alfonso Matias, Sedrick de Carvalho, Fernando Antonio Tomas, Hitler Chiconda, Italiano Arante Kivuvu, Benedito Dali, Albano Bingobingo, José Gomes Hata, Inocénio De Brito and Osvaldo Correia Caholo. Police forces also seized their personal belongings without a warrant including computers, mobile phones, flash drives, diaries, cameras and credit cards.

According to the same information, a warrant to proceed to the search of the residence of the individuals under arrest and the seizure of any potential evidence, was issued on June 22, 2015.

On the same day, following their arrest, the Director General of the Criminal Investigative Service, issued a statement saying that they are being accused of “preparing acts aimed at disrupting public order and security in the country”. It was later reported that they are being charged with “rebellion”, “attempted coup d’Etat” and “crimes against national security”.

Furthermore, on June 21, 2015, Mr. Domingos da Cruz, was also arrested. Mr. da Cruz was initially supposed to take part in the meeting as a speaker, but he finally did not attend the meeting.

It is reported that Messrs. Domingos da Cruz, Luaty Beirão Da Silva, and Manuel Nito Alves are detained at the 29th Police Station in Luanda, while the other activists arrested are detained in police stations across Luanda. However, the whereabouts of Messrs. Fernando Antonio Tomas, Italiano Arante Kivuvu, Benedito Dali, José Gomes Hata, Inocénio De Brito and Osvaldo Caholo remained unknown at the time of this appeal.

Allegations of physical and psychological torture as well as death threats targeting the activists have also been reported.

The Observatory is greatly concerned by the arbitrary detention and allegations of ill-treatment targeting thirteen members of the Revolutionary Movement and Mr. Domingos da Cruz, which seem to merely aim at sanctioning their human rights activities and calls upon the authorities of Angola to immediately and unconditionally release all of them.

Actions requested :

Please write to the authorities in Angola asking them to :

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Messrs. Luaty Beirão Da Silva, Manuel Nito Alves, Nuno Alvaro Dala, Nelson Mendes Dos Santos, Alfonso Matias, Sedrick de Carvalho, Fernando Antonio Tomas, Hitler Chiconda, Italiano Arante Kivuvu, Benedito Dali, Albano Bingobingo, José Gomes Hata, Inocénio De Brito, Domingos da Cruz and Osvaldo Correia Caholo, as well as of all human rights defenders in Angola ;

ii. Immediately disclose the whereabouts of Messrs. Fernando Antonio Tomas, Italiano Arante Kivuvu, Benedito Dali, José Gomes Hata, Inocénio De Brito and Osvaldo Caholo ;

iii. Immediately and unconditionally release Messrs. Luaty Beirão Da Silva, Manuel Nito Alves, Nuno Alvaro Dala, Nelson Mendes Dos Santos, Alfonso Matias, Sedrick de Carvalho, Fernando Antonio Tomas, Hitler Chiconda, Italiano Arante Kivuvu, Benedito Dali, Albano Bingobingo, José Gomes Hata, Inocénio De Brito, Domingos da Cruz and Osvaldo Correia Caholo, as well as all human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in Angola ;

iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment and intimidation, including at the judicial level, against Messrs. Luaty Beirão Da Silva, Manuel Nito Alves, Nuno Alvaro Dala, Nelson Mendes Dos Santos, Alfonso Matias, Sedrick de Carvalho, Fernando Antonio Tomas, Hitler Chiconda, Italiano Arante Kivuvu, Benedito Dali, Albano Bingobingo, José Gomes Hata, Inocénio De Brito, Domingos da Cruz and Osvaldo Correia Caholo and all human rights defenders in Angola, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their work without unjustified hindrance and fear of reprisal ;

v. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as its Article 12.2, which provides that the State shall “take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of his or her rights” ;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Angola.

Addresses :

H.E. José Eduardo dos Santos, President of the Republic of Angola, Rua 17 de Setemro, Cidade Alta, Luanda República de Angola

H.E. Manuel Domingos Vicente, Vice-President of the Republic of Angola, Rua 17 de Setemro, Cidade Alta, Luanda República de Angola

Mr. Ângelo de Barros Veiga Tavares, Minister of Interior, Avenida 4 de Fevereiro n.º 106, Luanda República de Angola ; Tel : 222390423

Mr. Rui Jorge Carneiro Mangueira, Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Rua 17 de Setemro, Cidade Alta, Luanda República de Angola

H.E. Mr. Apolinário Jorge Correia, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Angola to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Rue de Lausanne 45-47 CH-1201 Genève – Suisse, +41 22 732 30 60, E-mail : contact@mission-angola.ch

H.E. Elizabeth Simbrão, Ambassador, Embassy of Angola in Brussels, Rue Franz Merjay 182 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Phone : (+32) 2.346.18.72 Fax : (+32) 2.344.08.94, Email : angola.embassy.brussels@skynet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Angola in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, June 29, 2015

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of human rights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

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