We received and are glad to publish on our website a message from Carlos Nuno Castel-Branco’s son. Mr Castel-Branco will be on trial in Mozambique for a Facebook post he wrote in 2013, where he criticized the president’s governance and economic policies.
We stand for freedom of expression, opinion and information.
“As some of you may know, my father Carlos Nuno Castel-Branco will be tried in Mozambique next month for a Facebook post he made in 2013 that was critical of the former Mozambican president’s governance and economic policies. He has been charged with crimes against state security. Also charged with defamation for publishing the post, are Fernando Mbanze, the editor of Mozambique’s premier independent newspaper Mediafax, and Fernando Veloso, editor of Canal de Mocambique.
Obviously, the impending trial has been personally taxing for the people involved, their families and friends. No one wants to go to jail. But the trial also points towards growing state repression of freedom of speech, public debate and freedom of the press, not only in Mozambique but across the region. Mozambique’s new penal code, which went into effect this month, extends protection from critique to a much broader range of political leaders and public servants, the very actors who should be held accountable by the people. This trial provides a unique platform to push back against this trend. It is for this reason that we are launching the campaign “Viva a Liberdade de Expressao e Imprensa em Mocambique.”
The local response in Mozambique has been overwhelming, from local visual artists who are helping to design the images to hip hop artists who are organizing teach ins across urban centers…But it is precisely in these moments that international solidarity is so important, for it gives international exposure to our struggle and can soften the blow of state repression.
It is for this reason that I am writing to request your solidarity. There are four immediate ways you can help:
1. Sign and share the petition calling on Mozambican authorities to drop the charges, end the practice of harassment and repeal all legislation which unduly limits freedom of expression, http://bit.ly/
2. Write a letter to the Chief Prosecutor, Minister of Justice and Mozambican embassador in the US.Amnesty International has set up an Urgent Action, with guiding bullets and the contact information http://www.
3. Join and invite others to join the campaign facebook page https://www.facebook.com/
4. Write an op ed in your local newspaper and share your media contacts. If you are willing to do this, please let me know. We can provide support and additional information if necessary.”