Angola seeks conviction of top journalist for graft story

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(iStock)
(iStock)

An Angolan prosecutor on Friday sought the conviction of outspoken rights activist and journalist Rafael Marques for accusing a former attorney general of corruption in a real estate deal.

Pedro Pederneira said Marques had insulted public authority in the 2016 article where he alleged that Joao Maria de Sousa had been involved in a dodgy land purchase.

The verdict is due on July 6. Marques, who is on trial with another journalist, risks a three-year prison term if convicted.

'Public prosecutor calls for my conviction for crimes of insult to public authority & against the state. He exonerates his ex boss - the plaintiff - of corruption & blames local admin instead,' the 46-year-old Marques tweeted in English after the court hearing.

The Oxford-educated Marques, who runs the news website Maka Angola, is no stranger to Angola's courts, having been arrested and detained several times.

In 2015, he was convicted of defaming military generals in a book and was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence.

In September, President Joao Lourenco succeeded Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, who had ruled Angola for 38 years.

Lourenco assumed power promising to tackle corruption in the oil-rich nation.

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