Angola Releases POC Fernando Lelo

Journalist Fernando Lelo was released from prison on August 21st. Lelo spent nearly 2 years in prison, convicted by the Cabinda Military Court for crimes against the security of the State. Amnesty International considered Lelo a Prisoner of Conscience; convicted for his non-violent expression of criticism and opinion against the government of Angola. On appeal, the Supreme Military Court released Fernando and acquitted him of all charges, ordering his immediate release.

Amnesty International spoke to Fernando since his release, who thanked AI for all the work done on his behalf and encouraged us to continue to work for the release of other prisoners of conscience. In addition to Amnesty International speaking with Lelo once during his incarceration, he said that he knew of the continuing work Amnesty International was doing on his behalf while he was in prison through his lawyer and friends. Amnesty International USA also called attention to his case in its letter to Secretary of State Clinton prior to her visit to Angola in July. Thank you to everyone who took action on his behalf.

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6 thoughts on “Angola Releases POC Fernando Lelo

  1. This is great news indeed! It seems all our hard work at Amnesty USA is starting to pay off! :D

  2. This is great news indeed! It seems all our hard work at Amnesty USA is starting to pay off! :D

  3. Solidarity Group for the Cabindan People (SOGROCAP)

    THE RELEASE OF FERNANDO LELO AND FIVE CABINDAN SOLDIERS

    Solidarity Group for the Cabindan People (SOGROCAP) welcomes the news that the Angolan government has finally come to its senses and released Fernando Lelo and five other Cabindan soldiers from prison.
    This wonderful gesture marks the beginning of an end to tyranny, repression and unreasonable imprisonment of Cabindan journalists and human rights activists (heros and heroines dedicated to the struggle for peace in Cabinda).
    The release of Fernando Lelo and others should be celebrated as a triumphant victory of Cabindan people for their struggle to attain freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and other freedoms denied under the Angolan illegal occupation of the State of Cabinda.
    The Solidarity Group emphasises, however, that Angola is trying to create a patronising image of charity to the people of Cabinda and the world that the conflict in the region has come to an end. It surprises that this monumental decision to release the prisoners hatches shortly after the visit of two world renowned political giants, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton of USA.
    If the release of Fernando Lelo and the five Cabindan soldiers is a result of this important visit we say much more must be done to ensure that there is peace, stability and prosperity in the State of Cabinda. Peace and stability in Cabinda simply means that every Cabindan should agree about the future of Cabinda, her people’s political aspiration and their land.
    A lot has happened – often not reported – since the military occupation of Cabinda in 1974. We thank the Human Rights Watchdog for their diligence and care displayed through publication of the Cabindan cause.
    Recently, a wave of deportation of Congolese out of Cabinda has been created by the Angolan authorities and troops. These political, social and economic migrants have been illogically and inaccurately linked with Cabindan rebels. This resulted in the Congolese government deporting Cabindans and Angolans in Congo Brasaville and Congo DRC.
    Angola is procuring and exercising their illegitimate control over Cabindan people therein squandering all their assets (oil, gold, diamond and other natural resources). Our main concern as a humanitarian organisation is that the cultural and blood connection which the Cabindan people and Congolese have cannot be separated through the fascist methods employed by Hitler during Jewish Holocaust.
    In other words, Cabindans have blood relatives in both Congos and the Congolese have blood relatives in Cabinda. They speak a common language and practice the same culture and religion. Effectively, this common heritage was correctly demonstrated when the people of Bas Congo (province of Congo) led by Bundu Diatotila protested against deportation.
    Bas Congo people and other Congolese are now constantly threatened by the Angolan army deployed in Congo DRC because of their leading role in support of the cause and defence of the Cabindan people. Invariably, the Governor of Bas Congo voiced his concern regarding the deportation of Congolese in Cabinda and the Cabindan people in both Congos. These protestations underlie a fundamental belief that deportation is a violation of international conventions on migration and is against international protocols, which are constantly ratified by Angola as a member of United Nations, African Union and SADC.
    The Solidarity Group for the Cabindan People urges the Angolan government to stop the unreasonable measures it uses to control Cabindan resources and ceases the insecurity created by Angolan leadership’s reluctance to solve the Cabindan-Angolan conflict through peaceful means. As a point of departure, Angola needs to come to terms to the fact that conflict exists and that Cabindan people are unable to exercise their right to self-sustainability and right to freedom of expression.
    Above all, the central western region of Africa (DRC, Congo Brazaville and Cabinda) has become vulnerable and abandoned by the international community. The illegal occupation of Cabinda by Angolan authority has created insecurity and dislocation in the region.
    During his visit in Angola recently, Pope Benedict XVI emphasised that the people living in the borders share a cultural and tribal connection that cannot be disintegrated. The pope suggested that their situation should be dealt with a degree of delicacy and sensitivity.
    In dealing with Cabindan issue, the Angolan government has, however, fabricated a group of 100 Cabindan representatives to ratify a Memorandum of Agreement signed with Bento Bembe in August 2006 and was rejected by all parties and people of Cabinda. This conference was organised in Botswana in September 2009.
    What is more alarming is that the historic leader for liberation and peace in Cabinda, President Nzita Tiago of FLEC was not invited. This once again has become a habit for the SADC countries to meet without the presence of the pillar of strength, peace and stability, a key role player in the quest for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Cabinda.
    The Solidarity Group would therefore like to encourage the SADC leadership and every individual state in SADC not to leave Angola alone in dealing with the Cabindan issue. Our view as a humanitarian organisation and our patners (churches, non-governmental organisations and individuals) believe that dialogue should resume between Angola and Cabinda. Nonetheless, this dialogue should occur under the supervision of European Union, Portugal, African Union, SADC, and United Nations whereby an international interlocutor will be appointed to voice out the experiences and aspirations of the Cabindan people.
    We also call upon the deployment of support, intellectual resources and political interventions to persuade the role players to come closer and end the conflict in the region.

    Chairperson: Ngunda Isenge
    Secretary Genera:l Ndokele Mazaza

  4. Solidarity Group for the Cabindan People (SOGROCAP)

    THE RELEASE OF FERNANDO LELO AND FIVE CABINDAN SOLDIERS

    Solidarity Group for the Cabindan People (SOGROCAP) welcomes the news that the Angolan government has finally come to its senses and released Fernando Lelo and five other Cabindan soldiers from prison.
    This wonderful gesture marks the beginning of an end to tyranny, repression and unreasonable imprisonment of Cabindan journalists and human rights activists (heros and heroines dedicated to the struggle for peace in Cabinda).
    The release of Fernando Lelo and others should be celebrated as a triumphant victory of Cabindan people for their struggle to attain freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and other freedoms denied under the Angolan illegal occupation of the State of Cabinda.
    The Solidarity Group emphasises, however, that Angola is trying to create a patronising image of charity to the people of Cabinda and the world that the conflict in the region has come to an end. It surprises that this monumental decision to release the prisoners hatches shortly after the visit of two world renowned political giants, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton of USA.
    If the release of Fernando Lelo and the five Cabindan soldiers is a result of this important visit we say much more must be done to ensure that there is peace, stability and prosperity in the State of Cabinda. Peace and stability in Cabinda simply means that every Cabindan should agree about the future of Cabinda, her people’s political aspiration and their land.
    A lot has happened – often not reported – since the military occupation of Cabinda in 1974. We thank the Human Rights Watchdog for their diligence and care displayed through publication of the Cabindan cause.
    Recently, a wave of deportation of Congolese out of Cabinda has been created by the Angolan authorities and troops. These political, social and economic migrants have been illogically and inaccurately linked with Cabindan rebels. This resulted in the Congolese government deporting Cabindans and Angolans in Congo Brasaville and Congo DRC.
    Angola is procuring and exercising their illegitimate control over Cabindan people therein squandering all their assets (oil, gold, diamond and other natural resources). Our main concern as a humanitarian organisation is that the cultural and blood connection which the Cabindan people and Congolese have cannot be separated through the fascist methods employed by Hitler during Jewish Holocaust.
    In other words, Cabindans have blood relatives in both Congos and the Congolese have blood relatives in Cabinda. They speak a common language and practice the same culture and religion. Effectively, this common heritage was correctly demonstrated when the people of Bas Congo (province of Congo) led by Bundu Diatotila protested against deportation.
    Bas Congo people and other Congolese are now constantly threatened by the Angolan army deployed in Congo DRC because of their leading role in support of the cause and defence of the Cabindan people. Invariably, the Governor of Bas Congo voiced his concern regarding the deportation of Congolese in Cabinda and the Cabindan people in both Congos. These protestations underlie a fundamental belief that deportation is a violation of international conventions on migration and is against international protocols, which are constantly ratified by Angola as a member of United Nations, African Union and SADC.
    The Solidarity Group for the Cabindan People urges the Angolan government to stop the unreasonable measures it uses to control Cabindan resources and ceases the insecurity created by Angolan leadership’s reluctance to solve the Cabindan-Angolan conflict through peaceful means. As a point of departure, Angola needs to come to terms to the fact that conflict exists and that Cabindan people are unable to exercise their right to self-sustainability and right to freedom of expression.
    Above all, the central western region of Africa (DRC, Congo Brazaville and Cabinda) has become vulnerable and abandoned by the international community. The illegal occupation of Cabinda by Angolan authority has created insecurity and dislocation in the region.
    During his visit in Angola recently, Pope Benedict XVI emphasised that the people living in the borders share a cultural and tribal connection that cannot be disintegrated. The pope suggested that their situation should be dealt with a degree of delicacy and sensitivity.
    In dealing with Cabindan issue, the Angolan government has, however, fabricated a group of 100 Cabindan representatives to ratify a Memorandum of Agreement signed with Bento Bembe in August 2006 and was rejected by all parties and people of Cabinda. This conference was organised in Botswana in September 2009.
    What is more alarming is that the historic leader for liberation and peace in Cabinda, President Nzita Tiago of FLEC was not invited. This once again has become a habit for the SADC countries to meet without the presence of the pillar of strength, peace and stability, a key role player in the quest for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Cabinda.
    The Solidarity Group would therefore like to encourage the SADC leadership and every individual state in SADC not to leave Angola alone in dealing with the Cabindan issue. Our view as a humanitarian organisation and our patners (churches, non-governmental organisations and individuals) believe that dialogue should resume between Angola and Cabinda. Nonetheless, this dialogue should occur under the supervision of European Union, Portugal, African Union, SADC, and United Nations whereby an international interlocutor will be appointed to voice out the experiences and aspirations of the Cabindan people.
    We also call upon the deployment of support, intellectual resources and political interventions to persuade the role players to come closer and end the conflict in the region.

    Chairperson: Ngunda Isenge
    Secretary Genera:l Ndokele Mazaza

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