RAN 11/11: ANGOLA

March 11, 2011

ANGOLA: Reporter sentenced to one year's imprisonment for defamation

The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International condemns the one-year prison sentence and heavy fine handed down on 3 March 2011 to journalist Armando José Chicoca on defamation charges for reporting on sexual harassment allegations against a senior judicial official in 2007. PEN believes that Chicoca has been sentenced solely for his peaceful exercise of free expression in violation of his right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Angola is party. PEN calls for Chicoca’s immediate and unconditional release.

On 3 March 2011, Armando José Chicoca, a reporter for various private Angolan newspapers including Folha 8, Agora and O Apostolado as well as for the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Voice of America (VOA), was sentenced to one year in prison and a $2,100 fine by a court in the south-western province of Namibe. He was transferred to Comarca Prison in Namibe following sentencing.

Chicoca was charged with defamation for reporting on sexual harassment allegations against the presiding judge of the Provincial Court of Namibe. The lawsuit was filed by the judge in question. Chicoca’s defence lawyer was not present during his trial; it is not clear whether or not he was barred from attending. According to the lawyer, Chicoca intended to appeal the ruling.

In 2007 Chicoca spent 33 days in prison after police arrested him while he was reporting on protests against the demolition of a street market.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) (3 March 2011): http://www.cpj.org/2011/03/angolan-journalist-gets-year-in-prison-for-de...

TAKE ACTION
Sign the petition below to send the following appeals:

  • Condemning the one-year prison sentence and heavy fine handed down to reporter Armando José Chicoca on defamation charges;
  • Calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Angola is a signatory;
  • Calling on the Angolan authorities to ensure that Chicoca has full access to lawyers and family while he remains in detention;
  • Urging the Angolan government to decriminalise press offences including defamation in order to avoid similar cases in the future.
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