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US/Angola: Rafael Marques de Morais, Angolan human rights journalist, is a 2017 Democracy Award Honoree of the National Endowment for Democracy

Author: National Endowment for Democracy (USA), Published on: 7 June 2017

"2017 Democracy Award Honoree-Rafael Marques de Morais, Angola", June 2017

Mr. Rafael Marques de Morais is a journalist and human rights defender with a special interest in political economy and human rights in Angola. Born in Luanda, Marques de Morais holds a B.A. (Hons) in Anthropology and Media from Goldsmiths, University of London, and an M.Sc. in African Studies from the University of Oxford. He was a visiting scholar at the African Studies Department of SAIS/ Johns Hopkins University (2012), a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy (2011), and a Draper Hills Summer Fellow at the Stanford Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (2016). He currently runs the watchdog website "Maka" dedicated to exposing corruption and human rights abuses in his country...In 1999, he published a story...[H]e described Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos as a dictator and exposed him as corrupt. He was prosecuted for that article and spent 43 days in prison, 11...in solitary confinement...He...turned his efforts to peace initiatives, calling for an end to the 27-year Angolan civil war...Morais has authored various reports exposing impunity and corruption in Angola. His book, Diamantes de Sangue: Corrupção e Tortura em Angola [Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola] (2011) investigated corruption and human rights abuses in the Angolan diamond industry. Following its publication, eight Angolan generals and two private mining companies sued Marques for defamation...The Portuguese prosecution services dismissed the case in 2013. The generals subsequently constituted themselves as private prosecutors in an attempt to pursue a civil suit in Portugal before finally dropping the matter in 2015...[I]n a trial heavily criticized by international observers, an Angolan court convicted...Morais for criminal defamation in May 2015, and he received a six month suspended sentence without the hearing of plaintiffs and witnesses...Currently,...[he]...is being charged for insulting the Attorney General of Angola, due to his publically exposing how the Attorney General's private business dealings conflict with his public duties...

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