Angola: Lawyer to sue Angolan state and police over death of protester

Lawyer Zola Bambi said today that he will provide legal aid to the family of the young man killed in Luanda in a demonstration, admitting to proceeding with criminal and civil lawsuits against the Angolan state and the police.

Zola Bambi, who is part of the Observatory for Social Cohesion and Justice, an organization dedicated to the defense of human rights, declared to Lusa that he was mandated by the family to proceed with a criminal process “to hold those responsible for the death of the young Innocent when I was participating in an activity that, legally, could not have caused what happened, which was a brutal death ”.

Innocent Matos “Beto”, 26, was pronounced dead on Thursday after being taken to the hospital, allegedly being the victim of a physical assault with a blunt object, according to doctors.

However, witnesses say the student was shot by the police during a frustrating demonstration on Wednesday, Independence Day in Angola, and UNITA doctor and deputy Maurílio Luyele accused the police of “manipulating” the medical staff of the Américo Boavida hospital to provide false information.

“We are in solidarity with the family, following our tradition of welcoming those who left this world and, subsequently, at the right time, we will continue the criminal process aimed at the State and the Angolan police,” said Zola Bambi, who today traveled to the place of death to offer condolences to the young person’s family.

“Following that, a civil process will be brought to compensate family members and compensate for moral damages and all those caused by the disappearance of Innocent,” he added, speaking to Lusa.

According to the lawyer, the information transmitted to the family points to a death “caused by a blunt element”, a version that he said was denied by the eyewitnesses who accompanied the young man.

“Not long ago, we spoke to someone who saw an agent shooting and said that the bullet hit the ground and ricocheted, but we still have no access, and what interests us is the autopsy report carried out,” said Zola Bambi, highlighting that “there are divergences” between what the national police says and what was reported about the facts on the spot.

The demonstration, promoted by the same organizers who had already seen a suppressed protest by the police last month, intended to demand better living conditions and the holding of the first municipal elections in 2021, after having been postponed this year due to the covid-19.

But the concentration did not happen due to the police barriers placed in the accesses to the city, with thousands of policemen dispersing the youths using tear gas and water cannons.

The police said they had not used lethal means, but protesters claim that live ammunition was used.

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