The President of Angola continues his crackdown on activists and rappers continues in the country, where a controversial trial is taking place over an alleged coup attempt.
[T]he case involves a famous rapper in the country named Luaty “Ikonoklasta“ Beirão and a group of activists who are accused of inciting students to overthrow the goverment and assassinate President Eduardo dos Santos.
Their struggle with the government made headlines around the world due to the abuse of the 17 prisoners at the hands of the Angolan government. Dissidents in the country, which is a Presidential Republic, are sick of dos Santos and his henchman, who have been accused of kidnapping and murdering to maintain their 36-year grip on the country and its ample resources.
In addition to being imprisoned for over three months without a trial, Ikonoklasta and the other activists have allegedly been beaten and tortured, even though they are supposed to have the constitutional right to freedom of expression.
Ikonoklasta and the activists’ plight started gaining publicity when the rapper announced a hunger strike in September, to protest the horrible treatment. The hunger strike ended after 36 days, amidst pressure from his wife and detainees.
It helped draw worldwide attention and condemnation of the President dos Santos and the charges which includes the claim that the students murdered a local chief.
But the accused are not getting a fair trial, according to journalists Moiani Matondo and Rafael Marques De Morais, who are covering the trial for Maka Angola. The whole thing is a farce according to the pair. De Morais would know. He directs Maka Angola, which is an initiative “dedicated to the struggle against corruption and to the defense of democracy in Angola.”
|Journalist Rafael Marques De Morais of Maka Angola|
“There is a mention that the youths would burn tires in the presidential palace to smoke the president out; a video clip showing two defendants discussing non-violent methods if the police eventually fired at protesters; and perhaps the most ridiculous piece of evidence is a white board with hardly readable initials of the president’s name, JES, as evidence of their attempt to assassinate him,” the journalists said. “The judge himself entered his own evidence against one of the defendants in the form of a Youtube video he watched.
The evidence presented in court so far showcases the absurdity of the regime, and how it has hollowed out the judicial system to make its point: It rules with impunity.” Angolan journalists Moiani Matondo and Rafael Marques De Morais
In Angola, over half of the population lives off $2 a day even though the country is Africa’s second biggest oil exporter. So Ikonoklasta and a group of rappers began using Hip-Hop to protest the government.
President dos Santos has done everything he can to disrupt the rappers lives, from planting cocaine on Ikonoklasta to beating up the rapper’s longtime collaborators.
Just recently the government blocked popular rap artist MCK from leaving the country to attend a Hip-Hop festival that took place last month in Brazil. When he went to the Luanda International Airport to board his flight, his passport was confiscated, and he was prevented from getting on the plane.
“They only told me that these were ‘superior orders’ and that the instructions were that they should return my passport only after the TAAG [Angolan airliner] flight for Rio de Janeiro had left,” said MCK. “All those who think differently are being subjected to political persecution,” said MCK.