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Leading NGOs urge Angola's Attorney General to drop charges against human rights activist Rafael Marques - say those behind the case are linked to diamond mining allegedly involving killing, other abuses

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Article
7 June 2013

International NGOs voice support for Angolan journalist and human rights activist, Rafael Marques de Morais

Author: Article 19, Associação Justiça, Paz e Democracia (AJPD), Committee to Protect Journalists, Corruption Watch UK, EG Justice, Freedom House, Global Witness, Associação Mãos Livres, Media Legal Defence Initiative, National Endowment for Democracy, OMUNGA, FIDH, OMCT, Rencontre pour la paix et les droits de l’homme (RPDH), Sherpa, Transparency International, World Movement for Democracy

Dear Attorney General João Maria de Sousa, As leading democracy, human rights, and anti-corruption organizations, we are writing to express our concern about recent judicial actions taken against the Angolan journalist and human rights activist, Mr. Rafael Marques de Morais...According to Mr. Marques, his interrogator informed him that he had been indicted in January 2013 on charges of defamation related to his book, Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola, published in Portugal in 2011. The book documents widely reported allegations of homicides, torture, forced displacement...and intimidation of inhabitants of the diamond-mining areas of Angola’s Lundas region...The complainants in the new indictment are civilian business partners of Angolan generals...All are shareholders and/or directors of a diamond mining company and its private security contractor, the alleged perpetrators of the crimes outlined in the Blood Diamonds book. In 2012, these Angolan generals filed a criminal defamation lawsuit against Mr. Marques in Portugal [which didn't succeed]...The plaintiffs are now pursuing a private prosecution in Portugal for libel and defamation against Mr. Marques...

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Author: Article 19, Associação Justiça, Paz e Democracia (AJPD), Comité pour la protection des journalistes, Corruption Watch UK, EG Justice, Freedom House, Global Witness, Associação Mãos Livres, Media Legal Defence Initiative, National Endowment for Democracy, OMUNGA, FIDH, OMCT, Rencontre pour la paix et les droits de l’homme (RPDH), Sherpa, Transparency International, World Movement for Democracy

Monsieur le Procureur général…En tant qu’organisations mondiales dévouées à l’anti-corruption, la démocratie et aux droits de l'homme, nous vous écrivons pour exprimer notre inquiétude au sujet des actions judiciaires récentes prises à l'encontre du journaliste et militant des droits de l'homme angolais, M. Rafael Marques de Morais…Selon M. Marques, son interrogateur lui a informé qu'il était inculpé en Janvier 2013 sur des accusations de diffamation liées à son livre Blood Diamonds : La corruption et la torture en Angola, publié au Portugal en 2011. Ce livre décrit plusieurs allégations de meurtres, de torture, de déplacements forcés de colonies civiles et d'intimidation des habitants des zones diamantifères de la région de Lunda…Les plaignants dans le nouvel acte d'accusation sont des hommes d’affaires civils en partenariat avec des généraux angolais…tous actionnaires et/ou administrateurs d'une société d'extraction de diamants et de sa sous-traitance de sécurité…les auteurs présumés des crimes énoncés dans le livre...En 2012, ces généraux angolais ont déposé une plainte pour diffamation contre M. Marques au Portugal [qui a été classée sans suite]…[L] es plaignants se sont ensuite tournés vers un cabinet d’avocats privé,…au Portugal, pour soumettre une autre plainte de diffamation contre M. Marques…

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Author: Article 19, Associação Justiça, Paz e Democracia (AJPD), Committee to Protect Journalists, Corruption Watch UK, EG Justice, Freedom House, Global Witness, Associação Mãos Livres, Media Legal Defence Initiative, National Endowment for Democracy, OMUNGA, FIDH, OMCT, Rencontre pour la paix et les droits de l’homme (RPDH), Sherpa, Transparency International, World Movement for Democracy

Digno Procurador-Geral da República General João Maria Moreira de Sousa, Enquanto representantes de organizações e de indivíduos engajados na luta pela democracia, pelos direitos humanos e contra a corrupção, escrevemos-lhe para exprimir a nossa preocupação com as recentes acções judiciais intentadas contra Rafael Marques de Morais, jornalista e activista dos direitos humanos angolano... De acordo com o oficial que o interrogou, pende uma queixa, desde Janeiro de 2013, contra o Sr. Marques de Morais, sob a acusação de difamação relacionada com o seu livro, Diamantes de Sangue: Tortura e Corrupção em Angola, publicado em Portugal, em 2011. O livro documenta, de forma amplamente detalhada, casos de homicídio, tortura, deslocamentos forçados e intimidação contra os habitantes das áreas de extracção diamantífera da região das Lundas...Os queixosos são empresários civis, parceiros de negócios de generais angolanos...Todos são accionistas e/ou administradores de uma empresa de mineração de diamantes e da empresa privada de segurança que prestava serviços à primeira, e são responsabilizados pelos crimes descritos no livro Diamantes de Sangue: Corrupção e Tortura em Angola. Em 2012, os referidos generais apresentaram uma queixa-crime, em Portugal [que não foi levada a julgamento]…Os autores da queixa recorreram da decisão, em Portugal, tendo deduzido acusação particular por calúnia e difamação contra o Sr. Marques de Morais...

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