The deputy director of Rádio Despertar , Queirós Anastácio Chilúvia, 38, will remain in jail, after his summary trial was adjourned on Monday, February 3, in the municipality of Cacuaco, Luanda.
According to the defence lawyer, Africano Cangombe, neither the police nor the court allowed him to speak to his client in order to prepare a defence.
“There was no trial because the public prosecutor thought the accusation against my client was baseless and sent the case back to DNIC [the National Directorate for Criminal Investigation] for investigation. Here, they arrest people first, and then they investigate”, said Africano Cangombe.
According to the lawyer, the police accused the deputy director of Rádio Despertar of the crime of defamation, as well as making false statements against a public authority: the police.
On Sunday, as he was walking past the National Police Command Post in Cacuaco, Queirós Chilúvia heard prisoners inside calling for help. As a journalist he decided to report on the incident.
At 15h13, Queirós Chilúvia called the portal Maka Angola to inform them of the incident. He then made a brief live report on Rádio Despertar. According to several witnesses, the journalist entered the police station to get a reaction from the police, at which point he was arrested.
Brígido Hama, the sound engineer who aired the report, explained to Maka Angola that Queirós Chilúvia “said that he could hear a disturbance coming from the detainees and that he noticed one of them was bleeding outside the cell. That was all he said of relevance”.
The lawyer Africano Cangombe deplored the fact that his client was handcuffed and walked “a stretch of about 500 meters down the street to humiliate him publicly”.
Queirós Chilúvia was taken to court at around 11h00, and was returned to the cell in the Belo Monte police station in Cacuaco at around 16h30.
Yesterday evening, the police moved the journalist to the cell of the Provincial Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DPIC), in the city. His family and lawyer only learnt of his whereabouts this morning, according to his wife Madalena Kengue.
Rádio Despertar, which broadcasts only in FM, is the radio station of choice in the outskirts of the capital Luanda, where the majority of the six million residents live. The radio hardly can be heard in the city centre due to jamming and weak signal.
The broadcaster was launched in 2006, as part of the peace settlement between the government and the former rebel movement UNITA. It guaranteed the conversion of UNITA’s guerrilla radio station, VORGAN (Voice of the Black Cockerel), into a commercial radio station, broadcasting only in FM and just for Luanda.
For several years, the Catholic-run Rádio Ecclésia led the way, on the airwaves, as an alternative to official propaganda. Over the last few years, the clergy’s arbitrary censorship, compulsory sacking of free press abiding journalists, and the closure of critical programmes led a wave of listeners to tune in to Rádio Despertar