[QODLink]
Africa
Angola jails Cabinda 'activists'
Convictions over links to separatists who attacked Togo football team angers activists.
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2010 19:22 GMT
Two people were killed and others injured in the
attack on the Togo football team [Reuters]

An Angolan court has jailed four people for links to the group which carried out a deadly attack on Togo's football team in January.

The court in the northern enclave of Cabinda on Tuesday found the four, described by Human Rights Watch as activists, guilty of crimes against state security.

The judge did not say whether the men - Raul Tati, a priest, Francisco Luemba, a lawyer, Belchior Tati, an economist and Jose Benjamin Fuca, a former police officer- had direct links to the January attack.

Their prison sentences ranged from three to five years, according to Radio Ecclesia.

"This is clearly a lost opportunity to restore justice in Angola, and particularly in Cabinda," Lisa Rimli, a researcher for the Africa division at New York-based Human Rights Watch, said.

The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (Flec) has claimed responsibility for the January attack in which two members of the Togolese football delegation were killed as the team was travelling by bus to the Africa Cup of Nations.

The four men convicted on Tuesday were arrested shortly after the attack.

Trial criticised

The trial has been sharply criticised by rights groups that have accused the government of using the attacks to justify a crackdown on critics.

Martinho Nombo, a lawyer and rights activist taking part in the court hearings, said the judge convicted them because they had spoken or written about independence for Cabinda.

"This is unconstitutional.
A judge cannot jail someone for nothing"

Martinho Nombo,
lawyer and rights activist 

"This is unconstitutional. A judge cannot jail someone for nothing," he said.

"This will only worsen Angola's poor record on human rights and the whole peace process with Flec."

The AFP news agency said the men had been arrested because they had documents about Flec and had travelled to Paris for meetings with exiled leaders.

"The supposed link was implied rather than stated," Rimli said. "They were convicted on the basis of those documents."

A total of nine people were arrested in connection with the Togo attack, but only two of them are suspected of having any direct link to the shooting, according to Human Rights Watch.

Radio Ecclesia said demonstrators gathered outside the courthouse on Tuesday to protest against the trial, as heavily armed riot police guarded the building.

Flec has for more than three decades been fighting for the independence of Cabinda, an oil-rich province that is separated from the rest of Angola by a strip of territory belonging to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The group says the Cabindans get too little of the oil revenues coming from their homeland.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.