Arão Bula Tempo officially charged with ‘rebellion’
On 3 February 2016, Lawyers for Lawyers sent letters to the authorities of Angola to raise concerns about the official charging of human rights lawyer Arão Bula Tempo.
Arão Bula Tempo is a human rights lawyer and President of the Provincial Council of the Angolan Bar Association in Cabinda. Since 1998, he has been actively denouncing human rights violations committed by state agents, including arbitrary detention, torture and summary executions.
On 22 October 2015, Arão Bula Tempo was formally charged with the crimes of attempted “collaboration with foreigners to constrain the Angolan state” and rebellion. He is accused of inviting foreign journalists from the Republic of Congo to cover a peaceful protest against bad governance in Cabinda Province, Angola. If prosecuted and found guilty, he faces up to twelve years in jail.
Arão Bula Tempo was arrested already on 14 March 2015 and released conditionally two months later. As a condition of his release, he is not allowed to leave Cabinda without authorization from Angolan authorities. His health has been deteriorating in recent months. He has stated that he does not feel safe receiving treatment in state-owned hospitals and urgently needs to seek health care outside Cabinda province. However, the Angolan authorities have denied him permission to travel outside of Cabinda to receive treatment.
Furthermore, on 18 December 2015, Anacleto Ngala Mbiquila, Tempo’s secretary, was arrested. The reasons for his arrest are unknown. Arão Bula Tempo’s lawyers believe that the arrest of Mbiquila constitutes an indirect attack on him.
Lawyers for Lawyers called on the authorities to drop the charges against Arão Bula Tempo if they have been brought against him solely because of his human rights work and his exercise of his right to freedom of expression.