Portuguese authorities have rejected a criminal complaint against a campaigning journalist who had accused several senior Angolan military officers of complicity in human rights atrocities, including killings and torture, VOA reports.
The generals were involved with diamond mining companies responsible for the torture and murder of workers in the Lunda region, especially the districts of Shah-Muteba and Cuango, according to Rafael Marques, who published the details in his book “Blood Diamond”.
In 2012, Marques filed a complaint against the shareholders of three private Angolan diamond mining companies for crimes against humanity. His book details endemic corruption in Angola and documents over 100 cases of murder and over 500 cases of torture and other crimes committed by the diamond companies and private security forces hired to protect their business interests. The shareholders include some of the country’s most influential generals who have countersued him, not in Angola where the process started, but in Portugal where Rafael could not bring witnesses.
The defendants initiated criminal proceedings against Marques and his publisher for libel and slander. The generals had pressed charges in Portugal for fear of adverse publicity in Angola and because he could not afford to bring witnesses in his defense.
Marques is an award-winning journalist and human rights activist, specializing in political economy, the diamond industry, and government corruption. A former Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow, his writings have helped set the agenda for political debate in Angola by exposing abuses of power and endemic corruption through his journalism and his work with Maka Angola, an Angolan platform, supported by the National Endowment for Democracy.