Fifteen young activists have been unlawfully detained in Angola. Among them is the rapper Ikonoklasta whose real name is Luaty Beirão. They have spent the last few months behind bars on charges of plotting to overthrow Angola’s government.
As the controversial trial opens this week, the case has elicited international outcry from politicians and activists around the world against a government that appears determined to stifle dissent within the nation. The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) has governed the country since it declared independence from Portugal in 1975, and controls Angola’s valuable oil and mineral reserves. Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos has been in power for 36 years. (Vice News)
Bodies such as Amnesty International have expressed concerns on the imprisoned activists receiving a fair trial, due to the tightening of freedom by the government in the past few months.
“Our major call is really for them to be released unconditionally.” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Southern Africa.
The Angola 15, as the group has become known on social media, wore beige prison jumpsuits and — in a small act of protest as the long-awaited trial began — strolled into the courtroom barefoot for their first appearance on Monday. They were arrested during a politically oriented book club meeting on June 20, and their trial is expected to wrap up next week. Domingo’s da Cruz and Osvaldo Caholo, two other affiliated activists who are also set to face trial, have been out on bail since their arrests on June 21 and June 24.
Various youth organisations and activists have joined their voices to speak for a fair trial and/or unconditional release of the freedom fighters.
The African Youth Corner urges Africans, especially young Africans to join in this fight for their release using the hashtag #Angola15 or #liberdadeja on social media.
We are Africans, standing with and for Africa!!!