Radio journalist sentenced one-month prison term

DECEMBER 28, 2007Posted February 1, 2008
Arnando Chicoca, Radio Ecclesia and Apostolado

A court in the southwestern coastal town of Namibe sentenced Radio Ecclesia and Apostolado correspondent Arnando Chicoca to one month imprisonment and a 17,000 kwanza (US$227) fine. Prosecutor Bartholomew Fair said Chicoca was prosecuted for disobeying police under Article 186 of the penal code.  

Police had arrested Chicona six days earlier while he was covering protests against the demolition of an informal market. Namibe Gov. Boavioda Neto had ordered police to dismantle “illegal markets” and force vendors to move to a new location. Police Cmdr.Valdemiro da Cruz Verdales said Chicoca was told on December 21 and 22 not to report on the demolition, but the journalist defied the security cordon.

Local journalists reported that police beat Chicoca and confiscated his phone, tape recorder and other equipment. Family members and Radio Ecclesia and Apostolado were not informed of his trial date, local journalists told CPJ. Raul Mangueira, a lawyer who heads a regional human rights commission, said the prosecution failed to produce evidence in support of the charge.