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Rights group urges end to violence in Angola province

[JURIST] The Angolan government should stop torture and unfair trials in the province of Cabinda [government in exile website], according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] statement [press release] issued Wednesday. HRW alleges that at least 15 civilians and six military personnel have been arbitrarily detained in Cabinda since September 2007. There has been only one trial, which resulted in a conviction, and HRW found that the trial fell short of international fair trial standards. HRW also alleges that the detainees have been tortured and held under inhumane conditions. HRW Africa Director Georgette Gagnon said, "The Angolan government should immediately stop all torture of detainees and permit international scrutiny of military detention facilities in Cabinda. . . . Those responsible for the mistreatment of detainees should be held accountable." HRW claims that 14 civilians are currently being held illegally.

Angola has a history of human rights violations, particularly in the province of Cabinda, which has been fighting for independence since 1975. In 2006, a pro-independence group in Cabinda announced [JURIST report] that it was filing a request with the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] for the prosecutor's office to conduct an investigation into alleged Angolan war crimes. In August, HRW expressed doubts [HRW report] as to whether the September elections would be fair and free. After the elections, HRW identified problems [HRW report] with the electoral system and called for changes before the 2009 presidential elections.

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