Free Nito Alves
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Free Nito Alves
UPDATE: Nito Alves went on hunger strike on November 3. He was recently transferred from Comarca Central de Luanda to Comarca de Viana, where he remains at the time of publication of this update.
Nito Alves, aged 17, is a political prisoner in Angola. This young political activist has been held in detention since 12 September, 2013, for being an outspoken critic of President Dos Santos.
Nito Alves is being held without charges and without access to a lawyer. He has been kept in solitary confinement and his family has not been allowed to visit him. His health condition is deteriorating as he is suffering from severe diarrhea, vomiting, fever, skin eruptions and muscular pain, as a result of the poor sanitary conditions he has been kept in. He has been repeatedly subjected to death threats by his guards.
We demand his immediate and unconditional release and we urge you to join the campaign to free Nito Alves.
On 12 September, Manuel Civonda Baptista Nito Alves (Nito Alves) was arrested by officers of the Angolan National Police in the Viana neighbourhood in Luanda, Angola’s capital.
The cause of his detention was the fact that Nito Alves allegedly ordered the printing of 20 T-shirts with the words "Ze Dú/ Out/ Disgusting/ Dictator." Ze Dú is the nickname for President José Eduardo dos Santos, in power since 1979. On the back of each T-shirt, the following phrase was to be printed: "Angolan people/ when the war/ is necessary and urgent in Angola/ to change the dictatorial government."
The T-shirts were allegedly going to be used in an anti-government protest on 19 September. Over 20 people were arrested during that protest.
Nito Alves has been a target of political persecution since 2011, when, at the young age of 15, he began to openly voice criticism of the Dos Santos regime. Inspired by the Arab Spring, Nito Alves was among the Angolan youth who began organizing anti-government protests, which were repeatedly met with violent repression by the authorities. Police violence against demonstrators and against journalists covering the protests has been documented in detail by the international press and human rights organizations.
In December 2012, police surrounded the home of Nito Alves’s parents at 3 AM to try to arrest him, but did not find him at home. “The police even searched under my bed where I was asleep with my wife,” his father, Fernando Baptista, recalled. “But at that point my son had already left home because of persecution by the police,” he added.
On 27 May this year, Nito Alves was briefly arrested during yet another anti-government protest.
Since his most recent arrest on September 12, he has been held in custody without due legal process. We therefore demand the immediate and unconditional release of political prisoner Nito Alves.
For more information on Nito Alves, see:
The Schoolboy Who Shook the Regime, Maka Angola, September 14
Nito Alves: the teenage reincarnation of resistance in Angola, The Guardian, October 3
To sign the petition in Portuguese go here.
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