New York, April 19, 2000 — The trial of journalist Andre Domigos Mussamo, accused of “revealing state secrets” in an unpublished article based on a provincial governor’s unpublished letter, has been set for April 26, according to CPJ’s sources in Luanda.
Mussamo is being tried along with Agostinho Mateus Augusto, the governor’s press officer, who is accused of having leaked the governor’s letter to the journalist. According to sources at the Kuanza Norte Criminal Court, the letter contained “highly important information of a military nature.”
Angolan police originally arrested Mussamo, formerly chief editor of the Cuanza Norte provincial branch of the Angolan National Radio (RNA) and a correspondent for the biweekly Folha 8, on December 2, 1999. It is unclear whether Mateus Augusto was ever detained for having leaked the letter.
After his arrest, Mussamo was held for over three months in deplorable conditions in a Cuanza Norte penitentiary. During that time, authorities cut off his home telephone line and confiscated some of his family’s possessions. Mussamo eventually posted bail and was released from prison around March 16, on condition that he not leave Cuanza Norte or resume his professional activities, CPJ’s sources say.
Mussamo’s piece was written in September, but never published. It is unclear how police learned about its contents. According to the Media Institute of Southern Africa, an agent of the security services searched Mussamo’s desk at work, and found a draft of the article.
If found guilty, Mussamo and his co-defendant could be jailed for up to eight years.