Angolan court acquits famed journalist, editor

Friday July 06 2018

A high-profile Angolan journalist and human rights activist Rafael Marques and editor Mariano Bras Lourenco have been acquitted by a court in Luanda.

Mr Marques runs an anti-corruption website Maka Angola while Mr Lourenco works for the weekly O Crime newspaper.

The two were charged last year with insulting a public authority after they published an article that alleged that former Attorney-General Joao Maria de Sousa had acquired land illegally.

The two risked a three-year prison term if convicted.

Judge Josina Falcao while acquitting them on Friday acknowledged that the real estate transaction was "tainted with irregularities" and that the article fulfilled the journalistic duty to inform the public and expose alleged wrongdoing.

“This court… therefore decides to send them back to their families at liberty and peace," the judge ruled.


Their acquittal was welcomed by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

“While the whole affair should never have taken place, (we) welcome this outcome," the CPJ said.

Mr Marques has won several international awards for his investigative reporting including the 2018 World Press Freedom Hero Award.