16 April 2018

Mozambique: Journalists Meet With Attorney-General

Maputo — The Emergency Committee for the Protection of Freedoms (CEPL), a body formed essentially by Mozambican journalists, on Monday urged that the Attorney-General's Office (PGR) should investigate and present results in cases concerning attacks and murders against journalists and political analysts.

Speaking in Maputo after a meeting between CEPL members and Attorney-General Beatriz Buchili, the Committee's spokesperson, Fernando Lima, who is chairperson of the independent media company Mediacoop, said that the CEPL had a good impression of the meeting - but it wants to see concrete action to clear up currently unsolved cases.

“The impression is encouraging, but society needs actions rather than just words and intentions”, said Lima.

The request for an audience with Buchili followed the kidnapping and assault against journalist and lawyer Ericino de Salema on 27 March. Salema was abducted in broad daylight outside the offices of the National Journalists Union (SNJ) in central Maputo. He was then driven along the Maputo Ring Road into Marracuene district, where his captors tortured him, breaking bones in both his legs.

The only plausible explanation for the attack is that it was an attempt to intimidate and silence Salema, who was a regular guest on the Sunday night chat show “Pontos de Vista” (“Points of View”) on the independent television channel STV, where he often expressed positions critical of government policy.

The CEPL also raised other, older cases, for which so far nobody has been arrested, including the assassination of constitutional lawyer Gilles Cistac in March 2015, and the maiming of political analyst Jose Jaime Macuane in May 2016. Like Salema, Macuane had been a guest on “Pontos da Vista”.

Lima said the CEPL also wants to raise these cases with President Filipe Nyusi, but has not yet received an official answer from the president's office. There had been contacts, “but formally the meeting with the President has not yet been fixed”.

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