Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invites diamond companies to issue public statements of support for Rafael Marques

Author: National Jeweler, Published on: 26 March 2015

“Journalist who exposed industry abuses now on trial”, 26 March 2015

…Rafael Marques de Morais went on trial…to face charges of criminal defamation brought by seven generals…all…shareholders in the companies (among them Sociedade Mineira do Cuango, or SMC, and ITM-Mining) accused of human rights abuses in his 2011 book, Blood Diamonds: Torture and Corruption in Angola. Originally, the journalist was set to face nine counts of defamation but…he now faces up to 15 additional counts…The trial has been adjourned until April 23...de Morais published Blood Diamonds in Portugal in 2011. The book details more than 500 cases of torture and 100 killings allegedly carried out by guards of a private security firm called Teleservice and soldiers in the Angolan Armed Forces in the Lunda Norte province...As de Morais…he is…on trial…for “having lodged a complaint against the generals for their moral responsibility in the events…”…[which]…is a 2011 charge he filed with the Angolan Attorney General…The attorney general set that case aside. The generals attempted to sue de Morais and the Lisbon-based publisher of his book for libel and defamation, but the Portuguese Attorney General dismissed the case. The generals then brought the case to Angola…[and]…new charges were drafted on the basis that de Morais defamed the generals when he tried to sue them in 2011. Mauricio Lazala, the deputy director of the London-based Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, told National Jeweler…that it has written to…Tiffany & Co., Signet Jewelers Ltd. and De Beers, as well as Chicago independent Leber Jeweler--asking them to issue public statements of support for de Morais. The Centre…will disseminate these statements…Leber Jeweler is submitting a statement and Lazala said they are waiting on responses from Tiffany, Signet and De Beers…

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Related companies: ITM Mining Leber Jeweler Signet Jewelers Sociedade Mineira do Cuango (joint venture ITM Mining, Endiama & Lumanhe) Teleservice Tiffany