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By Godfrey Olukya 15-2-2013

Amnesty international has requested Angola not to send to Democratic republic of Congo (DRC) the nine 9 men it is holding on suspicion that they wanted to overthrow the government of DRC.

The human rights organization has fears that if the detainees are handed over to DRC, they will be tortured to death.

A statement issued by Amnesty international said that Angola must not send to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) nine detainees held on charges in connection with allegedly attempting to destabilize the government there, since there is a real risk they would face torture and other ill-treatment, and possibly the death.

It has also requested Angola to investigate allegations that the detainees have been tortured while held in incommunicado detention.

The men, at least seven of whom are originally from the DRC, were arrested in the Angolan province of Cabinda on 22 November 2012. They were initially held incommunicado in military barracks. Their families were not told where they were and they did not have access to a lawyer until 22 December.

Amnesty International said that it received information that while the 9 men were being held in the military barracks, the detainees were beaten with firearms, kicked with military boots, slapped and punched. None of the men received any medical care for the injuries sustained as a result of this torture.

‘There seem to be major and alarming irregularities in the process used by the Angolan authorities to detain and charge these men. These men must not be sent to face the risk of torture or execution in DRC,’ said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s southern Africa director.

‘The allegations of torture must be investigated and, if they are substantiated, the perpetrators must be brought to justice.’ he added.

Amnesty International fears that at least some of these individuals may be sent to the DRC where there is a real risk that they will face further torture or other ill-treatment or the death penalty. Angola has abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

Such a measure would violate international human rights law which absolutely prohibits torture and other ill-treatment. The prohibition applies to all states irrespective of their specific treaty obligations. It also prohibits states from sending any person against their will to another country where there is a real risk that they will be subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.

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