Rafael Marques de Morais is to go on trial for criminal libel on Tuesday 24 March, facing up to nine years in prison and damages of $1.2 million.
The charge relates to his exposure of human rights abuses in the diamond-producing province of Lunda Norte in north-eastern Angola. The hearing was postponed in December owing to the unavailability of witnesses. The Attorney General’s office has ordered Marques de Morais to appear in court at 8 am on Tuesday.
Last week Marques de Morais was honoured with the Journalism Award from the London-based organisation Index on Censorship.
by Sue Valentine
On Tuesday, less than a week after receiving an award for his journalism from the London-based freedom of expression group Index on Censorship, veteran journalist Rafael Marques de Morais will stand trial in Angola on charges of criminal defamation.
The trial follows claims made by Marques de Morais in his book Blood Diamonds: Torture and Corruption in Angola. Published in Portugal in 2011, it documents allegations of murders, torture, forced displacement of civilian settlements, and intimidation of inhabitants of the diamond-mining areas of the Lundas region of Angola, which was a Portuguese colony until 1975. In the book, the journalist claimed that guards from a private security firm and members of the Angolan military were responsible for the torture and killings, according to news reports.
by Paul Gallagher
A journalist and human rights activist who has been persecuted for several years following publication of his book alleging links between Angola’s military rulers and the “blood diamonds” trade will go on trial on Tuesday charged with defamation.
Rafael Marques de Morais returned from the UK on Friday to face charges brought against him by seven generals and some of their business associates, who he claims are connected to the illicit trade.