Angolan activist to be tried in camera for graft story

Angola Journalist Rafael Marques De Morais [Photo- AFP]
Outspoken Angolan human rights activist and journalist Rafael Marques de Morais will be tried in camera for a story he wrote two years ago exposing alleged corruption, he said Monday.

The charges relate to a story that Marques wrote in 2016 about a purchase of land by former attorney general Joao Maria de Sousa.

A court hearing on Monday was adjourned until April 24 after de Souza’s lawyers argued that as a former attorney general he had special privileges.

“The court said the trial cannot be held in the court of law and must be held in the office of the attorney general, so they moved the trial to the 24th (of April) and it will be held in camera,” Marques told AFP.

“It’s demeaning for the independence of the courts,” he added.

Marques, who runs the news website Maka Angola, and Mariano Bras, another journalist who reproduced the article, face up to three years in jail.

The 46-year-old Oxford-educated Marques is no stranger to Angola’s courts, having been arrested and detained several times.

In 2015, he was convicted of defaming military generals in a book and was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence.

In September, President Joao Lourenco succeeded Dos Santos, who had ruled Angola for 38 years.

Lourenco assumed power promising to tackle corruption in the oil-rich nation.