Angola frees Togo team attack activists

2010-12-22 19:00

Luanda - Angola on Wednesday freed four human rights activists jailed in the wake of a deadly militant attack on Togo's football team during the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

The four men were found guilty in August of crimes against state security over alleged links to a militant group that opened fire on a bus carrying the Togolese national squad to a match in the restive northern enclave of Cabinda.

But the ruling was found unconstitutional under a new law on crimes against state security, said Cabinda's attorney general, Antonio Nito.

"They are being freed because the law on crimes against state security has been adopted by the Angolan parliament and applies retroactively," Nito told AFP.

One of the activists, lawyer Francisco Luemba, confirmed he and his co-accused had been freed.

"I've just been released," he told AFP by telephone as he left prison to be driven home. "I spent more than 11 months in prison. I feel relieved. We were all freed at the same time."

The shooting, which killed two members of the Togolese delegation and injured the team's goalkeeper, was claimed by the separatist guerrilla movement Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (Flec).

A total of nine people were arrested in connection with the attack, but only two of them had any direct link to the shooting, according to Human Rights Watch. The trial of two suspects started in Cabinda last week.

The four activists - Luemba, university professor Belchior Lanso, Catholic priest Raul Tati and former police officer Jose Benjamin Fuca - were arrested because they had documents about Flec and had travelled to Paris for meetings with exiled leaders.

One meeting had been requested by a government-backed mediator as a prelude to possible peace talks, according to Jose Marcos Mavungo, an independent human rights activist who monitored the trial.

Luemba and Lanso's lawyer said on Wednesday his clients had been treated unjustly.

"The Cabinda court found them guilty without evidence. I think the judge was guided by emotion, or by political pressure," he told AFP.

"We are going to bring a suit to demand damages and interest" for the time they spent in prison, he added.

Flec separatists have been fighting for Cabinda's independence for more than three decades.

Despite a peace deal in 2006, Flec factions continue to wage low-level attacks in the oil-rich province that is separated from the rest of Angola by a strip of territory belonging to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Read more on:    angola  |  togo  |  west africa  |  southern africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 8520

Wi-Fi enabled With the BlackBerry Curve 8520 connect to your home...

From R1100.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.