Angola: Lawmakers, Executive Discuss Deadline On Prison Legislation

Luanda — Lawmakers and representatives of the Proponent of the Draft Law of the Criminal Procedure Code on Wednesday discussed the issue on detainee to be heard by the Public Prosecutor?s Office (MP) to the Guarantor Judge within 72 hours after his/her arrest.

The issue which led to the rift between Executive representatives and legislators was under debate in the Parliament.

The Article 254 of the Draft Law of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that the detainee must be present by the Public Prosecutor's Office (MP) to the Guarantee Judge within 72 hours after detention, with evidence, or should immediately be released.

During the debate held on the special basis, most MPs did not agree with the deadline set in this Bill, and suggested 24 or 48 hours instead.

Commissioner Eduardo Sambo, one of the proponent's representatives, explained that a 72-hour deadline was set in the draft law for the sake of judicial procedural experience.

He recalled that Law 18/92, which had been in force until 2015, set the detention legalisation period at 48 hours. Under this law almost all submissions to the prosecution were made five days later.

The committee, therefore, considered that the ideal would be to create a deadline of between five days and 48 hours. "It would really be the way to create a break-even point for faster instruction," he said.

In turn, Mota Liz, also representative of the proponent, exemplified that the National Police have difficulties in taking prisoners from the outskirts of Luanda to bring them to the division where the prosecutors are base.

"Detainees spend sometime such one week because the police have no means to transport them," Mota Liz said, noting that due to the country's reality, shortening the consequences to 24 hours would be even more disastrous.

"At the technical level, we think it is reasonable for our reality to be 72 hours, but the rule is immediate," he said.

Thursday's debate in particular focused on Title VI of Chapter I on Precautionary Procedural Measures and Chapter II on the detention of the Draft Law of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The draft law aims to repeal the Code of Criminal Procedure in force, approved and promulgated in 1929, and its complementary legislation.

The initiative of this amendment, carried out by the head of Executive, was triggered and conducted initially by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights and then subjected to the extended public consultation phase in the different sectors of society.

The proposal also aims to bring criminal procedural rules into line with the legal and constitutional reality and to bring into force the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens enshrined in the Constitution.

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