Jailed journalist Amade Abubacar was denied food, repeatedly beaten and made to sleep in handcuffs while held by the military for almost two weeks in Cabo Delgado, he told the head of the Mozambican Bar Association’s Human Rights Commission, Ricardo Moresse on Friday, 25 January.
The charges against Abubacar, who is now imprisoned at the Cabo Delgado provincial detention centre at Mieze outside Pemba, are still to be legally formalised – which means no date has been set for him to appear in court – his lawyer Augusto Armando told Zitamar News on 30 January.
Abubacar, a journalist for a community radio station in his native town of Macomia and a contributor to Zitamar News, told Moresse he was beaten five times while at the Mueda military base, and had to be given food by the district prosecutor when back in his home district of Macomia in order to have the strength to answer questions in court – having gone several days without eating.
According to a statement sent to journalists by the Mozambican Bar Association (Ordem dos Advogados de Moçambique, OAM) on 30 January, Abubacar’s health is stable, though he was complaining of headaches, fever, and heart pain, for which he is receiving medication.
The OAM delegation also met with Paulo Cazimoto, the provincial head of ICS, the state-owned community radio network which has been Abubacar’s employer for over 10 years. Cazimoto told the OAM that when Abubacar was arrested on 5 January, apparently for photographing internally displaced people fleeing insurgent attacks, he was not at work for the ICS.
“We have to let justice take its course,” Cazimoto said, “without any direct or indirect influence from any organ or institution.”
The OAM also met with the provincial chief public prosecutor, Octávio Zilo, to ask about Abubacar’s case and that of Andre Hanekom, the South African who died in custody last week, and whose wife claims he was poisoned.
News reports suggest an autopsy of Hanekom has been carried out but the results are not being made public.
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