Activists Demand Release of Angola's Youngest Political Prisoner

Nito Alves in front of his wall newspaper. Photo shared on his Facebook profile.

Nito Alves in front of the wall newspaper he created in the Bairro do Chimuco, Viana. Photo shared on his Facebook profile.

It has been more than a month since a 17-year-old activist from Angola was detained after allegedly having ordered the print of 20 t-shirts saying “[President] José Eduardo out! Disgusting dictator”. 

Manuel Chivonde Baptista ‘Nito Alves’ was jailed on September 12, 2013, and is currently at Luanda central prison, after a few days of solitary confinement and a period at Luanda's Provincial Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DPIC).

For Leslie Lefkow (@LeslieLefkowHRW), from Human Rights Watch, Angola's human rights situation “has sunk to a new low“:

[Nito Alves] will be the first Angolan to be charged under article 25 of a 2010 state security law. The crime of “insulting” the Republic of Angola or the president of Angola in “public meetings or by disseminating words, images, writings or sound” is punishable by up to three years in prison – a blatant violation of free expression rights.

Maka Angola reported [pt] on October 11 that the activist was still without access to a lawyer and visitors and in poor health condition. Renowned Angolan writer José Eduardo Agualusa wrote [pt] a note in solidarity. Member of European Parliament Ana Gomes sent a letter presenting the case of Nito Alves to the President of the European Commission, Durão Barroso, and Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. 

An activist youth group, Angolan Revolutionary Movement (MRA), requested hearings [pt] with various institutions of the government until now to no avail. An online petition [pt] demands Nito Alves’ “immediate and unconditional release”.

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