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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

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In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                    

Republic of Angola

Security forces enjoy impunity for violent acts, including torture and extrajudicial killings committed against detainees, activists, and others, although the frequency of politicized abuses has apparently decreased in recent years. Angolan prisons are reported to be overcrowded, unhygienic, lacking in necessities, and plagued by sexual abuse.

[Freedom House Country Report, 2020]

Description: Description: Angola

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Angola.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Angola

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 4 July 2021]


Periodic reports continued of beatings and other abuses both on the way to and inside police stations during interrogations. The government acknowledged that at times members of the security forces used excessive force when apprehending individuals. Police authorities openly condemned some acts of violence or excessive force against individuals and asked that victims report abuses to the national police or the Office of the Public Defender (Ombudsman).

Several reports indicated that police used excessive force to enforce the state of emergency implemented to combat COVID-19. On March 30, a video shared widely on social media showed police beating several men with nightsticks while the men laid prostrate on the ground inside a police station.

On October 24, a peaceful demonstration against the government demanding employment and local elections was violently repressed with several persons injured, 103 persons detained on charges of disobedience, and unsubstantiated reports of two persons killed. According to one human rights lawyer, Salvador Freire, some of the detainees, in particular the organizers of the demonstration, were subjected to harsh and violent treatment while in custody.


Prison and detention center conditions were harsh and life threatening due to overcrowding, a lack of medical care, corruption, and violence.

One human rights lawyer described the conditions at the Cabinda civil jail, where three of his constituents are in pretrial detention, as terrible. He said prisoners had no potable water for drinking or bathing; prisoners defecated in the same location where they ate; eight inmates shared a single cell, and others were obliged to sleep in the corridors. There was no social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


Pretrial Detention: Excessively long pretrial detention continued to be a serious problem. An inadequate number of judges and poor communication among authorities contributed to the problem. In some cases authorities held inmates in prison for up to five years in pretrial detention.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 14 May 2020]


Security forces enjoy impunity for violent acts, including torture and extrajudicial killings committed against detainees, activists, and others, although the frequency of politicized abuses has apparently decreased in recent years. Angolan prisons are reported to be overcrowded, unhygienic, lacking in necessities, and plagued by sexual abuse.

Torture, beatings and murder: Inside the new brutal 'blood diamonds' scandal fuelled by pure greed in Africa's mines

Flora Drury, Daily Mail, 17 April 2015

[accessed 5 May 2015]

* Rafael Marques spent years exposing atrocities in the mining industry

* Revealed how men were beaten to death by army and private guards

* Others were tortured because they could not pay the $20 bribes

* Angola produces about nine per cent of the world's diamonds

* Yet Marques on trial - because the revelations angered industry bosses.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or

[accessed 18 March 2015]


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION -- On February 2, police in the police headquarters of Cacuaco, Luanda, arrested Queirós Anastácio Chilúvia, editor of Rádio Despertar, which is owned by the opposition party, National Union for the Total Liberation of Angola (UNITA). He was there to seek an official explanation from the police after trasmitting, live on Rádio Despertar, cries for help from jailed detainees. Chilúvia was held in custody for five days without charge. On February 7, a court sentenced him to 180 days in prison, suspended for two years, and a fine of $600.

On May 28, police briefly arrested Rádio Despertar journalist Adérito Pascual at a police station in Viana when he asked for an official statement for a live broadcast on a violent operation to remove street traders. Police seized his phone, recorder, and identification, and government agents forced him to delete videos he had taken.

Angola and Guinea Bissau take positive steps to address torture

International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims IRCT, 08-10-2013

[accessed 13 Jan 2014]

[accessed 17 July 2017]

Since the IRCT sent an open letter to the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) less than a year ago, both Angola and Guinea Bissau -- two of CPLP’s eight members -- took positive steps to address torture within their jurisdictions.

On the same occasion, both countries signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention, thereby pledging to establish a mechanism to allow regular preventive visits to places of detention, such as prisons, police stations and detention centres.

According to Amnesty International, “some provisions of the [Angolan] national law relating to the police are contrary to international human rights law and may encourage the use of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.”

Policing and Human Rights -- Assessing southern African countries’ compliance with the SARPCCO Code of Conduct for Police Officials

Edited by Amanda Dissel & Cheryl Frank, African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum APCOF, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-920489-81-6

[accessed 25 March 2014]


No police official shall, under any circumstances, inflict, instigate, or tolerate any act of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of any person.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was concerned about the fact that there is almost no legal representation for suspects or detainees, and that police generally conduct their investigations unsupervised by the magistrate of prosecutions. They argued that this has a negative impact on the quality of work of prosecutors, who tend to ‘post-facto legalise police misconduct such as unlawful interrogation and incriminations based on confessions obtained only by a police investigator’. This could lead to the situation where allegations that the suspect was tortured by the police are ignored by the courts. The Working Group received many reports of allegations of torture and ill-treatment in police detention facilities and in prisons, and occurring during interrogation, and noted that complaints of ill-treatment are hardly ever investigated and perpetrators almost never brought to justice. As an indication of the poor response to these allegations, the Working Group noted that the Luanda police were unable to provide statistics on the number of investigations or disciplinary actions taken against police for alleged misconduct or abuse.

The Angola Anti-militaristic Initiative for Human Rights (IAADH) denounced the increasing use of disproportional and unjustified use of force by the police, mostly to break up demonstrations, torture, disappearances and detainees kept incommunicado, without access to lawyers, family or medical care.


For current articles:: Search Amnesty International Website

[accessed 25 December 2018]


Human Rights Reports » 2006 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 6, 2007

[accessed 16 January 2013]

[accessed 2 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The constitution and law prohibit such practices; however, government security forces tortured, beat, and otherwise abused persons. Abuses in police stations during interrogations were common. Police and other security forces were rarely held accountable, although the government punished some violators administratively or by public prosecution.

Abuses by the army continued, but decreased in comparison with previous years. The human rights situation in Cabinda continued to improve; however, there were isolated reports of violence by FAA troops, including beatings and other forms of intimidation, against the civilian population. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) noted that the attention of Cabindan military commanders and FAA officials to human rights issues had substantially improved since high-level command changes were effected in 2004. The ICRC stated that internal investigative and judicial bodies were functioning and that a large number of FAA officials were held accountable for their actions. Soldiers accused of unlawful behavior faced prosecution in civilian criminal courts. Three soldiers were convicted in the 2005 killing of a village administrator and sentenced to 16-year prison terms.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 6   Civil Liberties: 5   Status: Not Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 16 January 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 11 May 2020]

Lengthy pretrial detention is common, and prisoners are subject to torture, severe overcrowding, sexual abuse, extortion, and a lack of basic services. Despite increased resources and human rights training, security forces continue to commit abuses with impunity. An estimated four million weapons in civilian hands threaten to contribute to lawlessness, and the diamond-mining industry is afflicted by murders and other abuses by government and private security personnel. The government created a national justice ombudsman’s office in 2005, but civil society groups objected to their exclusion from the process.

Accusations of severe rights abuses, including extrajudicial executions, have been leveled throughout the duration of the Cabinda conflict. In 2007, UN investigators reported that 15 civilians were being held incommunicado at military bases in Cabinda under charges of “crimes against the state”; according to HRW, they were tortured and held in inhumane conditions. One of the civilians, journalist Fernando Lelo, was sentenced along with four rebels to 12 years in prison in September 2008

U.S. Library of Congress - Country Study  [dated]

Library of Congress Call Number DT1269 .A54 1990

[accessed 17 July 2017]

HUMAN RIGHTS – Amnesty International also reported numerous instances of torture during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Ministry of State Security officials were reported to have permitted or sanctioned torture of criminals and political prisoners by such methods as beating, whipping, and electric shock. Political detainees arrested for offenses such as criticizing government policies were deprived of food and water for several days and subjected to frequent and severe beatings during interrogation and confinement. Although allegations of torture and mistreatment remained common in the mid 1980s , such practices did not appear to have been systematic.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, " Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Angola",, [accessed <date>]