Case of Rafael Marques de Morais1

Case Summary and Outcome
Journalist Rafael Marques de Morais published a book about human rights violations
committed in Angola’s diamond fields. Several generals implicated in the book filed a
complaint against Marques de Morais for criminal defamation and libel. The Angolan court
sentenced him to six months in prison, suspended for two years on the condition that he
commits no crime.
Global FoE could not identify official legal and government records on the case and
information on the case was derived from secondary sources. Global FoE notes that
media outlets may not provide complete information about this case. Additional information
regarding legal matters will be updated as an official source becomes available.

Rafael Marques de Morais is an Angolan investigative journalist and human rights
advocate who wrote the book Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola. The
book described the human rights abuses and violations committed by security guards and
soldiers in the diamond fields of the Lundas region. The book also “argued that seven
generals who co-own a private security company involved in many of the abuses were
criminally responsible.” [1] Consequently, Marques de Morais filed a criminal complaint
against nine Angolan generals for crimes against humanity. The Attorney General quickly
dismissed the complaint.
Eight of the nine generals filed complaints in Portugal, where the book was published,
against Marques de Morais, alleging criminal defamation. The lawsuit was dismissed in
Portugal for lack of evidence. Subsequently, the generals filed a second complaint in
Angola. Marques de Morais was then charged under article 245 of the Angolan Penal
Code “with eight counts of ‘slanderous denunciation.’” [2] He was later charged with an
additional fifteen charges of criminal defamation under the Angolan Penal Code.
Marques de Morais and the generals who filed the criminal complaint reached a settlement
in which Marques de Morais would not republish the book and would make a statement
before the court. In turn, the generals agreed that they would dismiss the criminal
complaint. Marques de Morais complied with the settlement and stated before the court


Adapted from Columbia University 'Global Freedom of Expression'

Select target paragraph3