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Angola's 15+2 Activists Released From Prison as They Await Appeal

Nito Alves, (second from the left) during the trial in March 2016. Photo: MakaAngola (GV archive)

Nito Alves (second from the left) during the trial in March 2016. Photo: MakaAngola (GV archive)

Nito Alves, one of a group of activists dubbed the “15+2″ convicted of charges related to preparing rebellion against the Angolan government, was released from prison on 5 July. He joined the other 16 who had been released on 29 June following the habeas corpus request made by the defence lawyers.

The news was shared on the Facebook page of one of the activists, Luaty Beirão:

ÚLTIMA HORA
Nito Alves acaba de sair da cadeia.
O activista que foi julgado sumariamente a 6 meses de prisão efectiva pelo tribunal de primeira instância por injúria aos magistrados do julgamento, por proferir as palavras “não temo pela minha vida, este julgamento é uma palhaçada” acaba de sair da cadeia e aguarda recurso do Tribunal Supremo em casa.

BREAKING
Nito Alves has just left prison.
The activist – who was summarily sentenced to six months in prison by the magistrate’s court for insulting the court's judges by uttering the words “I am not afraid for my life, this trial is a farce” – has just been released from prison and is awaiting the Supreme Court appeal at home.

Alves later confirmed the news himself in an interview given to German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

Nito Alves and his companions are now all free and waiting for the Angolan Supreme Court’s decision on an appeal of their case filed by their lawyers. The 17 activists were originally detained in June 2015 by Angolan police for alleged “acts of rebellion and attempted coup d’état”. The group denies this, saying they simply had met together several times to discuss peaceful methods of protest. In particular, they were examining ideas from the book “From Dictatorship to Democracy” by Gene Sharp.

Of the 17 activists, 15 awaited trial judgement in prison. The other two, two young female activists, were not held in pre-trial detention, but in March 2016 all the prisoners were sentenced to prison terms between two and eight and a half years, and they were subsequently put behind bars.

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