Angola urged to free prisoners of conscience facing trial over Togo football team attack

Amnesty International has called for the release of two human rights defenders facing trial in Angola on charges linked to an attack on the Togolese football team.

Francisco Luemba, a lawyer, and Raul Tati, a Catholic priest, are set to face trial on charges of the crime of “other acts against the security of the state” on 12 July over the attack in the Cabinda region of Angola.  Amnesty International has declared them prisoners of conscience.

Both were members of the now banned human rights organization Mpalabanda and have for many years publicly criticised the government and the Front for the Liberation of the Cabinda State FLEC – an armed group fighting for secession of Cabinda.
 
Together with other two persons, Luemba and Tati have been charged of violating article 26 of the Angolan Law of Crimes against the Security of the State which states that “all and every act, not foreseen in the law that puts at risk or could put at risk the security of the state will be punishable”.

“Article 26 violates the principle of legality in criminal law. It is vague and does not enable individuals to foresee whether a particular action is unlawful. It basically means that any act which the authorities say is a crime will be a crime even if this was not stated in law at the time the act was committed,” said Muluka-Anne Miti, Angola researcher at Amnesty International. .

“It clearly violates international human rights law and standards and must therefore be repealed.”

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