Angola editor held for investigating screams

2014-02-06 21:06

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Luanda - The editor of an opposition-backed radio station in Angola will appear in court on Thursday, apparently on defamation charges, after he tried to investigate screams coming from a police station.

Queiros Anastacio Chiluvia, managing editor of Radio Despertar, was arrested without charge on Sunday, according to the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa), a rights organisation.

"He had heard cries coming from within the police station when he passed by. He went to the entrance to find out what was going on and ask the police's version of events but was then detained," said Alexandre Neto Solombe of Misa.

Chiluvia's lawyer, Africano Cangombe, told AFP he would appear in court Thursday.

"My client will be tried today, but we haven't yet had access to the indictment. The police are saying it was defamation," he said.

The Angolan police could not be immediately reached for comment.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for his immediate release.

"To arrest a journalist for asking police for their side of the story is absurd," said CPJ's Sue Valentine in a statement.

The radio station is funded by the main opposition party, Unita, which fought a bitter civil war against the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola government until a peace accord in 2002.

Substantial oil reserves have fuelled an economic boom over the past decade, but most Angolans still live in abject poverty.

International rights groups regularly denounce abuses and restrictions of freedom of speech by the government of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has ruled the country for 34 years.

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