Human rights group Amnesty International has called on Angolan authorities to immediately release 17 activists charged with rebelling against the government.
The activists who were arrested between June 20 and 24 last year were charged with “preparatory acts of rebellion” as well as “criminal conspiracy”.
They were each handed down conviction and sentences ranging from two and eight-and-a-half years. The activists were handed down the sentences earlier this year.
The eyes of the world are on Angola and the authorities must waste no time
“By keeping these young innocent activists behind bars for a year now, Angolan authorities have grossly violated their rights. Their sentences must be overturned and they must be immediately and unconditionally released,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.
Since June 18, demonstrations have been held in several cities to mark the first anniversary of their arrest.
“On the anniversary of their arrest, people around the world have come together to demand the release of these 17 activists,” added Muchena.
Amnesty International is urging the authorities to respect the right to freedom of expression in accordance with the country’s international human rights obligations and commitments.
“The eyes of the world are on Angola and the authorities must waste no time in doing the right thing and overturn their convictions and sentences and end this blatant miscarriage of justice,” said Muchena.