Angola Imprisons 17 for Discussing Democracy

Washington

In response to an Angolan court sentencing 17 civil society activists to two to eight years imprisonment for allegedly plotting a coup at a peaceful gathering, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“This shockingly harsh punishment of 17 people who met to discuss democracy issues shows that guarantees of fundamental freedoms by the Angolan Constitution are worthless,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director for Africa programs. “Freedom House calls on the government to release the activists without condition, and ensure that the basic rights of its citizens are protected, and placed above any one individual, even if it is the head of state.”

Background: 

The activists known as as the “Luanda Book Club Dissidents” were arrested in June 2015 after a peaceful gathering to discuss issues related to governance and multi-party democracy. Illegally detained for over 90 days without charges, they were later charged with rebellion and attempting a coup against the government.  

Angola is rated Not Free in Freedom of the World 2016Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2015.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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