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Angolan activist gets six months suspended jail sentence


jail2An Angolan court on Thursday sentenced a prominent anti-corruption activist to a six-month suspended jail term for defaming army generals in a book about violence in the country’s diamond mining industry.

“(I have) decided, on behalf of the people, to give Rafael Marques de Morais, accused of the crime of slander… a single sentence of (a suspended) six months in prison,” said judge Adriano Cerveira.

The court also ordered Marques to “withdraw the book from the market, including on the Internet, and not to republish or translate it”.

Marques, an outspoken campaigner and journalist, has been on trial since March accused of defaming several generals in the 2011 book on alleged violence and other rights violations in Angola’s lucrative diamond mining industry.

The decision to sentence Marques with a suspended jail term was made despite an apparent deal reached between opposing lawyers last week to drop all defamation charges against him.

The generals, including one of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ closest allies, had originally claimed $1.2 million in damages

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