Free 15 Youth Activists Detained for Peaceful Meeting

gavel and book close up, shallow dof

Target: Rui Jorge Carneiro Mangueira, Minister of Justice and Human Rights

Goal: Release 15 peaceful youth activists whose trial has not conformed to international fair trial standards.

Fifteen male youth activists are on trial for “rebellion” and “plotting against the president” in Angola, a country in Africa. They were arrested after attending a peaceful meeting in Luanda to discuss “politics and governance concerns,” Amnesty International reports. They have not received a fair trial and the charges against them are ridiculous to begin with. Sign the petition and demand their immediate release.

No independent observers, members of the press, or family members have been allowed into the courtroom during the activists’ trial, violating the right to a public hearing. Additionally, the court has been inordinately slow in moving the proceedings along; two hearing dates have been postponed because the prosecution failed to notify its more than 50 witnesses that they were needed to testify. At the beginning of the trial, “the court spent two days reading out almost 200 pages of an unpublished book written by one of the defendants,” which also slowed the process unnecessarily.

The activists have been moved from detention to house arrest, but this is not enough. Sign the petition demanding that the charges against them be dropped and that they be released immediately.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Manguiera,

I am writing to demand that you drop the charges against the 15 male youth activists arrested in Luanda for attending a peaceful political meeting. They are prisoners of conscience, arrested solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression, and they must be released immediately.

In addition to the illegitimate nature of the charges against them (“rebellion” and “plotting against the president”), the activists have suffered from several fair trial violations, mostly instances in which the court has unnecessarily delayed proceedings. For instance, two days of the trial were spent reading an unpublished book written by one defendant, while hearings were postponed twice due to the prosecution’s failure to inform any of its 50 witnesses that their presence was required in court. Perhaps most egregiously, the courtroom has been closed to family members, members of the press, and independent observers, violating the internationally-recognized right to a public hearing.

The charges against these activists are flimsy and their trial has been flimsier still. I urge you to do the right thing by dropping the charges and releasing the activists as quickly as possible.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: SalFalko

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