Transparency International condemns conviction of Rafael Marques de Morais

Transparency International condemns conviction of Rafael Marques de Morais

On May 28 Rafael Marques de Morais, a courageous investigative journalist and anti-corruption activist from Angola, was convicted and given a six-month suspended jail sentence following a trial for criminal defamation.

The conviction is a huge blow to freedom of expression and the fight against graft in Angola.

Marques’ crime: He exposed corruption and human rights abuses in his country. His book, “Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola,” describes how Angolan military officials and private security companies committed human rights abuses against Angolan villagers in the course of diamond mining operations. The book can be read online for free here.

In 2013 Transparency International awarded Marques its Integrity Award for his continued efforts to expose the corrupt practices of those in power.

Transparency International along with more than 70 individuals and organisations has signed an open letter calling for the conviction to be overturned.

We, the undersigned, call on Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos to drop the prosecution of journalist Rafael Marques de Morais.

Marques’ vital investigations into human rights abuses should not be impeded by the threat of jail, which is set to loom over him for two years under the court’s terms.

His conviction and six-month suspended sentence are a clear violation of the rights to free expression, to a free press and to a fair trial. 

Marques’ reporting is fundamental not only to Angola, but to the world at large. 

We call on you to ensure standards of international law are applied during the appeal process.

The conviction and sentencing came a week after an apparent dismissal of all the charges against Marques following an agreement with the generals who had accused him of defamation. Marques has since described this agreement as “a trick.” It meant that his witnesses, including a mother who says that her two sons were killed by Angolan security forces, did not get a chance to testify.  

Corruption can only be fought successfully in countries where the media is free to report on it without fear of retaliation. Transparency International is concerned Angola is making an example of Marques in order to deter others from undertaking investigations into corruption and rights violations.

Angola scored just 19 out of 100 in Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index, a fall of four points from its 2013 score of 23. Out of 175 countries, only one fell by more.

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

The theme for the 18th edition of the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) is announced

Building on the priorities set out in the Panama Declaration, the 18th IACC in Denmark from 22 to 24 October 2018 will move the pledge of acting together now to concrete action.

A new home for our corruption research

Transparency International is excited to announce the launch of the Knowledge Hub, a dedicated online space for our research.

Pardon me? Presidential clemency and impunity for grand corruption

Recent events in Brazil and Peru have shone a spotlight on the issue of presidential pardons in cases of grand corruption. Read more to find out the best practices that legislators can use to ensure that pardons are not abused for political purposes.

Stopping Dirty Money: the Global Effective-O-Meter

As of December 2017, global effectiveness at stopping money laundering stands at 32% effectiveness.

Corruption in the USA: The difference a year makes

A new survey by Transparency International shows that the US government has a long way to go to win back citizens’ trust.

Anti-Corruption Day 2017: Empowering citizens’ fight against corruption

The 9 December, is Anti-corruption Day. A key part of Transparency International’s work is to help people hold their governments to account. Have a look at what we've been doing around the world!

Digital Award for Transparency: Honouring digital initiatives to fight corruption

The Digital Award for Transparency awards individuals and civil society organisations who have developed digital technology tools used to fight corruption. The award aims at strengthening and promoting existing initiatives that promote good governance through three categories: Open Data, Citizen Engagement and Anti-Corruption Tools.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world