Case History: Raúl Mandela
In February 2016, Raúl Mandela received asylum in Brazil, following repeated physical assaults and targeting by the police in Angola.
On 15 September 2015 human rights defender Raúl Mandela was brutally beaten by the police while organising and participating in a peaceful protest. The demonstrators were calling for the release of 15 human rights defenders detained in June and protesting against the sentencing of human rights defender José Marcos Mavungo to six years' imprisonment.
Raúl Mandela is a member of the Conselho Nacional dos Activistas de Angola (National Council of Angolan Activists). He is a well-known activist who has organised several demonstrations against human rights abuses in Angola. He has also been one of the strongest voices in defence of freedom of speech and the right to conduct public demonstrations in Angola.
On 15 September 2015 human rights defender Raul Mandela was brutally beaten by the police while organising and participating in a peaceful protest. The demonstrators were calling for the release of 15 human rights defenders detained in June and protesting against the sentencing of human rights defender José Marcos Mavungo to six years' imprisonment.
On 15 September 2015 a group of 15 activists gathered in Luanda at the Largo da Maianga to march to the Prosecutor General’s Office, in protest against the sentencing of human rights defender José Marcos Mavungo to six years' imprisonment for rebellion and incitement to violence. The demonstration also called for the release of 15 activists who were detained on 20 June 2015 on accusations of rebellion and preparation of a coup to overthrow President José Eduardo dos Santos.
During the peaceful demonstration, the National Police commander of the Ilha de Luanda unit, Mr João Kiala, reportedly ordered the attack against Raul Mandela. The human rights defender lost consciousness and received medical attention as a result of the attack. He was severely beaten by the police and thus taken to Maria Pia Hospital to receive treatment for several head injuries. The human rights defender also suffered multiple bodily injuries and continues to suffer severe internal pain.
The human rights defender believes that this act of violence against him is linked to his activism in Angola and, in particular, to a debate organised by Despertar Radio, in which he participated along with fellow human rights defender Rafael Marques de Morais on 12 September 2015. During the debate he strongly criticised the police forces and authorities in Angola.
On 27 May 2013, at least nine human rights defenders were arrested, including Messrs Manuel Nito Alves, Albano Bingo, Nicola, Domingos Cipriano “Aristocrata”, Adolfo Miguel Campos André, Graciano, Ferbern, Emiliano Catumbela “Ticreme”, and Raul Lino “Mandela” while they were taking part in a vigil at Largo da Independência in Luanda to mark one year since the disappearance of human rights defenders Messrs António Alves Kamulingue and Isaías Cassule.
Eight of the human rights defenders have been released but Emiliano Catumbela remains in detention, he has not been given access to his lawyer and was due to appear in court on the morning of 29 May 2013. Raul Lino “Mandela” was reportedly beaten by police officers after his arrest, and was later found unconscious, having sustained serious injuries.
All nine human rights defenders are members of the youth group called Movimento Revolucionário (Revolutionary Movement), which peacefully advocates for human rights, democracy and accountability in Angola.
The group has previously called for peaceful gatherings to protest the lack of government response to the disappearance of António Alves Kamulingue and Isaías Cassule, who were last seen on 29 May 2012, two days after a protest that they had organised on 27 May 2012 in Luanda. This case was raised with the authorities by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in April 2013, during a three-day visit to Angola.
At around 4pm on 27 May 2013, demonstrators started to gather and were reportedly met with heavy police presence, including helicopters. During the vigil, Manuel Nito Alves, Albano Bingo and Nicola were arrested by officers of the National Police and detained for a few hours before being released without charges. Domingos Cipriano “Aristocrata” was held by police, but released without charges shortly after.
At approximately 8pm, Adolfo Miguel Campos André, Graciano and Ferber were arrested in the proximity of 1 May Square and kept in police custody for approximately three hours. The three human rights defenders were detained in a police vehicle and driven to the outskirts of Luanda. The police officers attempted to release the human rights defenders in a remote area, but after they refused to be left there, they were taken back to the city and released without charge.
Emiliano Catumbela “Ticreme” was arrested by police during the vigil, taken to the 3rd Police Unit in Vila Alice, and later transferred to Luanda’s Provincial Directorate for Criminal Investigation, where he is currently detained. The human rights defender has been refused access to his lawyer and has been charged with throwing stones at the police although witnesses deny that such an incident happened.
His lawyer had been informed that Emiliano Catumbela would appear before a judge and the Public Prosecutor on 29 May 2013. The Public Prosecutor’s Office has sent the case back to the police because the human rights defender was not present. The police claim they could not find him in any of the cells.
Raul Lino, known as Mandela, was reportedly arrested by police officers at approximately 9pm and was later found unconscious between 10 and 11pm on a roadside approximately 5km outside Luanda. He was immediately taken to a private clinic in Luanda. However, reportedly several private clinics refused to provide treatment, due to fears of government reprisal.
On 28 May 2013, the human rights defender received medical care at the Hospital Geral do Capalanga and he is currently recovering from injuries in his home in Luanda.
The National Police have issued a press release affirming that because demonstrators were throwing stones and other objects at the police, it was necessary to remove them from the area and release them in different locations.