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‘Blood Diamond’ Journalist To Stand Trial


Renowned Angolan journalist Rafael Marques de Morais will stand trial in March over an article in which he criticised the country’s Attorney General.

He is charged with “outrage to a sovereign body,” considered a crime against state security, and “insult against a public authority”.

Mr Marques de Morais was brought to international attention after he was convicted of libel for his 2011 book Blood Diamonds: Torture and Corruption in Angola.

The book accused seven generals of being linked to murder, torture and land grabs in Angola’s lucrative diamond fields.

He also spent 11 in solitary confinement for an article he wrote in 1999 which criticised the government.

The latest charge was first made in June under the former president, the long-standing Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

But he stood down in August and there were hopes things would change under the new President, Joao Lourenco.

The American Bar Association says “the continuation of the case against Rafael comes as a disappointment”:

President Lourenço’s words brought hope that these types of proceedings against human rights activists which were common during the reign of president José Eduardo dos Santos, would be discontinued and the charges against Rafael dropped.

Portugal’s Observador’s newspaper points out that the trial comes despite pressure from US House speaker Paul Ryan in June:

Mr Marques de Morais has been summoned to court on 5 March.

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