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China Aid signs letter calling for justice for prominent Angolan investigative journalist

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

China Aid
By Rachel Ritchie

(London–June 3, 2015) China Aid, along with other prominent NGOs, individuals and diamond companies signed an open letter yesterday, calling for the release of Rafael Marques de Morais, an Angolan investigative journalist who, after authoring Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola, was given a six-month suspended sentence on Thursday.

The letter, below, addressed to Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, calls for Marques to receive a just appeal, according to international standards.

Marques’ 2011 book details corruption and murders associated with Angola’s blood diamond trade. He has faced criminal charges in the past related to his bold reporting.

President Dos Santos
c/o Embassy of the Republic of Angola
22 Dorset Street
London W1U 6QY

June 2, 2015

Dear President Dos Santos,

We, the undersigned, call on you as the President of the Republic of Angola to drop the prosecution of journalist Rafael Marques de Morais.

Marques’ vital investigations into human rights abuses should not be impeded by the threat of jail, which is set to loom over him for two years under the court’s terms.

His conviction and six-month suspended sentence are a clear violation of the rights to free expression, to a free press and to a fair trial.

Marques’ reporting is fundamental not only to Angola, but to the world at large.

We call on you to ensure standards of international law are applied during the appeal process.

Yours faithfully,

Ali Ferzat, cartoonist
Angela Quintal, editor, Mail & Guardian, South Africa
Dame Ann Leslie, journalist
Anthony Barling, lawyer
Art Kaufman, World Movement for Democracy
Bob Fu, founder and president, ChinaAid
Brilliant Earth Jewellery
Carl Gershman, president, National Endowment for Democracy
Chantal Uwimana, Transparency International
Christopher Hird, film producer
Christophe Deloire, secretary general, Reporters Without Borders
Christina Lamb OBE, journalist
David Aaronovitch, columnist
David McCune, publisher
David Schlesinger, founder, Tripod Advisors
Dreda Say Mitchell, author
Edward Fitzgerald CBE QC, lawyer
Elaine Potter, journalist
Elif Shafak, author
Geoffrey Hosking OBE, historian
Grigory Pasko, journalist
Sir Harold Evans, journalist
Howard Brenton, playwright
Idrak Abbasov, journalist
Janet Suzman, actor and director
Jesper HĂžjberg, executive director, International Media Support
Jeffrey Smith, Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice & Human Rights
Jimmy Wales, founder, Wikipedia
Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive, Index on Censorship
John Witherow, editor, The Times, UK
Juliet Stevenson, actor
Kamila Shamsie, author
Kostas Vaxevanis, journalist
Lara Pawson, author of In the Name of the People: Angola’s Forgotten Massacre
Larry Kilman, secretary-general, WAN-IFRA
Leber Jeweler Inc
Lee Hirsch, film director
Lindsey Hilsum, journalist
Mariane Pearl, journalist
Mark Stephens CBE, senior member, Howard Kennedy LLP
Martha Lane Fox CBE, House of Lords
Mary Lawlor, executive director, Front Line Defenders
Maya Wolfe-Robinson, journalist
Matthew d’Ancona, journalist
Matthew Parris, journalist
Mohamed Al-Dharadji, film director
Neil Gaiman, author
Paul Webster, film producer
Peter Oborne, journalist
Peter Kellner, president, YouGov
Peter Pomerantsev, author
Peter Tatchell, director, Peter Tatchell Foundation
Philip Pullman, author
Rahim Haciyev, editor, Azadliq, Azerbaijan
Richard Sambrook, director, Centre for Journalism, Cardiff University
Ronald Deibert, academic
Robert McCrum, writer and editor
Sanar Yurdatapan, Initiative for Freedom of Expression, Turkey
Shu Choudary, journalist
Simon Callow, actor
Steve McQueen, film director
Sue Woodford-Hollick OBE, businesswoman
Sue Valentine, Committee to Protect Journalists Africa Programme
Suzanne Nossel, executive director, PEN American Centre
Stephen Hull, editor-in-chief, Huffington Post UK
Thomas Hughes, executive director, Article 19
Tiffany & Co.
Timberlake Wertenbaker, playwright
Turi Munthe, founder, Demotix
Yoav Shamir, filmmaker
Ziyad Marar, publisher

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org