Cape Town, South Africa, February 5, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on police in Angola to release a journalist who has been held since Sunday on accusations of slander and defamation.
Queirós Anastácio Chilúvia, deputy editor of the private Radio Despertar, was arrested when he went to the National Command Post police station in Cacuaco, a town on the sprawling outskirts of the capital, Luanda, to ask for comment about prisoners’ screams that he heard while walking past the station, according to the independent news website Maka Angola and Alexandre Neto, chairman of the Angola chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA).
Neto told CPJ that Chilúvia first called in a live report to Radio Despertar, saying that he had heard prisoners screaming from the station. Neto said that Chilúvia then went into the police station to ask about what was happening, and was arrested.
The journalist’s lawyer, Africano Cangombe, told CPJ that the police accused Chilúvia of defamation and of making false statements against the police. Cangombe said the case had been referred for further investigation because of a lack of evidence and that the journalist would remain in police custody. The maximum period that police may detain someone without bringing evidence is eight days, Neto said.
“To arrest a journalist for asking police for their side of the story is absurd,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Sue Valentine. “Queirós Anastácio Chilúvia is no risk to society. Authorities should release him immediately.”
According to Neto, who was the founder of Radio Despertar, Chilúvia has not been allowed access to his family or his lawyer since his detention.