Journalist on trial for ‘asking about screams’

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Lisbon - An Angolan radio journalist has been charged with slander and defamation after allegedly asking questions about screams coming from prisoners inside a police station, an opposition party that funds his radio network said on Thursday.

Opposition party Unita said Queiros Chiluvia, a deputy editor at Radio Despertar, was detained on Sunday after entering the Cacuaco police station in the outskirts of Luanda to obtain a reaction about screams coming from prisoners.

Unita lost a 27-year civil war against President Jose Eduardo dos Santos' MPLA party in 2002 and has since suffered heavy defeats in two elections.

Opposition parties and international rights groups have long accused Dos Santos, who has been in power in Africa's second-biggest oil producer for 34 years, of suppressing freedoms, including those of the press.

“Chiluvia has been charged with invasion, slander and defamation against public authority,” Unita said in a statement.

An Angolan police spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Unita added that the court is expected to deliver a verdict on Friday, after a session on Thursday proved inconclusive.

New York-based media rights group Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) urged authorities to release Chiluvia.

“To arrest a journalist for asking police for their side of the story is absurd,” said CPJ Africa Programme Co-ordinator Sue Valentine. - Reuters

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