- The human rights body has urged the Angolan government to halt unlawful detention and torture of people suspected of rebel activities in oil-producing province of Cabinda.
According to the 27 paged report released by Human Rights Watch today, Angolan armed forces and state intelligence officials have arbitrarily arrested 38 people belonging to the Liberation Front of the Enclave of Cabinda accused of state security crimes in Cabinda between September 2007 and March 2009.
“Most were subjected to lengthy incommunicado detention, torture, and cruel or inhumane treatment in military custody and were denied due process rights,” HRW said.
The Africa director for Human Rights Watch, Georgette Gagnon, said the Angolan armed forces are committing serious human rights violations in Cabinda, saying Angola's security concerns do not justify torturing people or denying them their most basic rights.
“The government should drop all cases brought against citizens based on unlawful confessions, such as those obtained under torture,” Human Rights Watch said.
Human Rights Watch further called on the Angolan government to ensure that the armed forces promptly transfer individuals detained for security crimes to the competent civilian authorities, further saying the detained should be given a fair trial.
It further urged the government to investigate all allegations of serious human rights violations by members of the military and intelligence services, and the prosecution of alleged perpetrators.
A 2006 peace agreement signed by the government of Angola and a faction of the separatist guerrilla movement sought to end formally the armed conflict in Cabinda, which has endured since Angola's independence in 1975.
The Angolan government claims that the war in Cabinda is over. However, sporadic attacks on government forces and expatriate workers have continued, and a FLEC group has threatened to increase activities ahead of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, which will also be held in Cabinda.
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