31 January 2013

Angolan Generals Press Charges Against Portuguese Publisher

An unprecedented legal battle for freedom of expression began today in Portugal.

The Portuguese judicial authorities, charged Bárbara Bulhosa, the head of publishing house Tinta-da-China, for defamation and slander, after nine Angolan generals sued her for having published the book Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola.

The book, by Angolan journalist Rafael Marques, is a chilling account of systemic and blatant human rights violations against local populations in the Lundas' diamond region, in Northeastern Angola. The book includes detailed testimonies of victims of torture and of family members of artisanal miners assassinated by members of private security companies and soldiers of the Angolan Armed Forces.

The nine Angolan generals are shareholders of the diamond mining company Sociedade Mineira do Cuango, and of the private security firm Teleservice, which provides services for the former. Mr. Marques' book, published in Portugal in 2011, details several cases of murder with more than 100 victims, and dozens of torture cases with more than 500 victims, many of which perpetrated by security guards of Teleservice, and some in the premises of Sociedade Mineira do Cuango.

Last November, the Portuguese judicial authorities charged Mr. Marques. The author is an Angolan national, living in Angola, but the generals chose to prosecute him in Portugal. Both author and publisher are now under the coercive measure of statement of identity and residence.

According to Ms. Bulhosa, "this is a political process of intimidation" and a case of "pressure over all publishers who may come across manuscripts covering sensitive issues in which powerful people are involved."

One of the plaintiffs is general Hélder Vieira Dias "Kopelipa," Minister of State and head of the Military Bureau in the Angolan presidency, one of the most powerful figures in Angola and a key member in President Dos Santos' inner circle.

Related Posts:

Investigation Into Death of Generals Archived

Angolan Presidential Guards on Trial for 'Insubordination'

Generals Accused of Crimes Against Humanity

Angola Investigates Top Generals in 'Blood Diamonds' Case

The Angolan Presidency: the Epicentre of Corruption

Copyright © 2013 Maka Angola. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.