May 29, 2015

ABA Statement Re: Angolan Human Rights Advocate Rafael Marques de Morais

The American Bar Association is concerned that the proceedings leading to the conviction and sixth-month suspended sentence of Angolan journalist and human rights advocate Rafael Marques de Morais were marred by procedural irregularities inconsistent with international fair trial standards. Marques de Morais was convicted for asking for an investigation by Angolan authorities of severe human rights abuses committed by private security forces allegedly operating under the control of Angolan generals in the country’s diamond mines, documented in a book he authored. Over the last year, the ABA Center for Human Rights has monitored proceedings in the case, and found that Marques de Morais was not provided an adequate opportunity to present a defense and that the court failed to address the serious freedom of expression and press issues raised by the defense at trial. The ABA will continue to observe the proceedings to determine whether Marques de Morais’ appeal addresses the serious fair trial violations that appear to have occurred during the proceedings.

(Media contact: Maria.Gutierrez@americanbar.org)

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