JOHANNESBURG: Angola received a boost to its free speech from the Portuguese courts, which refused to allow Angolan generals to stop the publication of a book exposing corruption and human rights abuses in the southern African country’s lucrative diamond mines.
Portuguese prosecutors this week threw out a libel suit against a book that alleges Angolan generals own a diamond company and a security firm that carried out killings and the torture of workers toiling in the southern African nation’s mines.
The dismissal of the challenge, brought against Angolan writer Rafael Marques and his publisher over his book ‘Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola,’ represents a free-speech victory for a nation where the government has long been accused of corruption and mismanagement of oil and diamond riches.
While the challenge played out in Portugal, Angola’s former colonial ruler, Marques said the court case could have bankrupted and effectively silenced him while frightening others investigating government corruption.
The author told The Associated Press today that their belief was being very rich and very powerful, especially within the Portuguese economy where they have made massive investment, they would have created the situation whereby he would not be able to afford a lawyer to defend himself.