Dr. Domingos Da Cruz, an Angolan Professor of Law and Human Rights at the Universidade Independente de Angola was arrested on June 21, 2015 and charged with preparatory acts of rebellion and association with criminals (the other 13 activists who were also arrested the previous day). After being held for six months, and then released on house arrest for another four months, the case came to trial and Prof. Da Cruz was sentenced to 8.5 years in jail.
CCS wrote a letter to the President of Angola expressing our concern for a scholar who was sentenced for exercising his right to non-violent expression of his opinion and right to free association.
Note: The professor and his co-defendants were recently released pending a final decision on this case. CCS has requested their unconditional release with all charges dropped.
- Angola Court Releases Book Club Activists (voanews.com)
- 17 Angola activists ordered from jail into house arrest (gazettetimes.com)
July 18, 2016
José Eduardo E. dos Santos
Presidente de Republica de Angola
Luanda, Angola Gabinete PR
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent, international organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for our colleagues all over the world.
Today we are writing you on behalf of Professor Domingos Da Cruz. Dr. Da Cruz is a scholar of law and human rights at the Universidade Independente de Ang0la. On June 21, 2015 the police arrested Da Cruz in connection with his peaceful activism and affiliation with a group of activists known as the Luanda Book Club (13 of whose members were arrested the day before Dr. Da Cruz). Dr. Da Cruz was scheduled to attend a meeting of the Book Club to discuss his, as yet, unpublished manuscript which outlines peaceful strategies for promoting democratization and respect for human rights in Angola. Prof. Da Cruz did not attend the meeting. However, the meeting was held and the police raided the meeting arresting 13 of its members, followed the next day by the arrest of Dr. Da Cruz. The trial for the defendants in this case was scheduled five months after their arrest, and postponed several times thereafter, having them detained for a period of six months, and then released on house arrest for an additional four months. In March of this year Dr. Da Cruz was sentenced to eight and a half years for “preparatory acts of rebellion and association of criminals.”
We are concerned about the prosecution of a scholar for the non-violent exercise of his right to freedom of expression and association. These rights are guaranteed to Angolan citizens under the international human rights document: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which Angola is a signer.
Recently, the Court conditionally released Dr. Da Cruz and his co-defendants pending a final decision of this case. We are, at this time, requesting an unconditional release for Dr. Da Cruz and his co-defendants with all charges dropped. Please keep us informed of the status of this case.
Sincerely,Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich,
Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Alberto do Carmo Bento Ribeiro
Ambassador, Republica de Angola
2108 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009