Sarah Wikes

Angola: Anti-corruption campaigner remains incarcerated in occupied Cabinda


Dr Sarah Wykes remains in Cabinda still awaiting permission to leave

After a quiet weekend, Dr Wykes is still waiting for the Angolan MPLA unelected authorities to process the paperwork relating to her case and to grant her permission to travel back to Luanda.

She is expecting a visit from a senior UK Consular official today whom Global Witness hopes may expedite this process.

Eight days after her arrest, Dr Wykes has still not been provided with clear details on the charges she is facing.

Angola Detains U.K. Campaigner Accused of Spying for Ninth Day

26 February 2007

The Angolan MPLA detained a British anti-corruption campaigner for a ninth day, having accused her of spying in the African country that joined the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries last month.

Sarah Wykes, a senior campaigner for Global Witness, was visiting Angola to research progress on transparency in the oil industry, which provides most of the government's revenue.

Wykes arrived in Cabinda territory occupied by Angola since 1974, on Feb. 16, was detained by the MPLA Angolan police in the early hours of Feb. 18 and subsequently arrested and charged with espionage against national MPLA Angolan security.
``She is still in Cabinda, awaiting paperwork detailing her charges and permission to leave Cabinda and return to Luanda, the capital,'' Andy Lambe, a campaign leader at Global Witness in London, said in a phone interview today.
The Angolan embassy in London didn't return phone calls seeking comment. The oil-rich occupied territory of Cabinda is physically separated from Angola by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and rebel movements have been fighting for secession since Angola became independent from Portugal in 1974.

The exact nature of the charges against Wykes are not clear because her lawyers were not present at the court hearing and it is also not yet known whether the conditions of her bail will require her to remain in the country, Lambe said.
Before joining Global Witness, Wykes worked as an academic at the University of London in the field of Hispanic studies. Global Witness and Wykes believe the espionage charges are unfounded, Lambe said. `No Restriction'

Angola's unelected Deputy Minister for Information, Miguel de Carvalho `Wadijimbi' last month denied accusations of oppression detailed in a Human Rights Watch report. In the Jan. 21 statement posted on Angola's U.K. embassy web site, the deputy minister said ``anyone who lives in Angola knows that there is no restriction of any kind on freedom of expression, association or assembly. To say otherwise is to be slanderous.''

Angola joined OPEC at the start of the year, becoming its first new member since 1975. The country is Africa's fastest- growing oil producer, boosting output at deep-water fields with the help of foreign companies such as Total SA, Exxon Mobil Corp. and BP Plc.
Angola was ranked 142 out of 163 countries on Transparency International's 2006 corruption perception index.

Fact Sheet: Dr Sarah Wykes Arrest by the MPLA of Angola

• Dr Sarah Wykes arrived in Angola on 11th February 2007.
• She was there to research recent progress on transparency in the oil sector.
• On Friday 16th February she flew to Cabinda with a colleague from the Open Society Institute (OSI).
• On the evening of Saturday 17th February, immigration police temporarily confiscated her passport.
• Then at around 4am local time on Sunday 18th February police came to her hotel room.

• After contacting a local lawyer, Dr Wykes allowed the police to enter her room at which point her passport was confiscated and a number of her personal belongings were seized including her digital camera, two pen drives and a notebook.
• She was asked to go to the police station and as there was no arrest warrant she refused. A police guard was placed outside her room until an arrest warrant was later issued.
• She was then formally arrested around 11am local time early and went to the police station.
• She was held at the police station all day and given no information regarding her arrest. She was not given any food or drink for around 5 hours.
• At around 4.30pm local time she was charged with espionage and taken to the local jail where she spent the night.
• At 10am local time on Monday 19th February she was taken from jail to court.
• Dr Wykes refutes ALL and any charges of espionage; no evidence to support any charges has yet been presented.
• The Angolan authorities are denying Sarah her own lawyers and are insisting on appointing a Government lawyer, which we understand to be illegal under Angolan law.

Dr Sarah Wykes:
• Dr Sarah Wykes is Senior campaigner for Global Witness working on corruption and mismanagement associated with oil revenues.
• Prior to this, she worked for the Amnesty International UK Business Group campaigning and researching on corporate accountability issues.
• She also helped develop a training course on business and human rights in collaboration with the New Academy of Business. Before joining Amnesty, she worked for Oxfam campaigns and also researched for the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre.
• Before entering the NGO world, she worked as an academic at the University of London in the field of Hispanic Studies. She has an MA and a PhD from the University of London.

Global Witness demands:
• Access to her lawyers and for all legal proceedings to be halted until such time as access is granted.
• An immediate and unconditional release.
• An apology from the Angolan Government for her mistreatment.
• For UK Government and international actors in Angola to demand Dr Wykes’ release.

Angola: Immediate release of anti-corruption campaigner required
Published 19/02/2007

Human rights and anti-corruption campaign group Global Witness is demanding the immediate and unconditional release of their employee Dr Sarah Wykes, a highly respected international anti-corruption campaigner.

Dr Wykes was arrested by armed Angolan police on the morning of Sunday 18th February in Cabinda, whilst visiting the oil rich enclave to meet with local civil society representatives. She was arrested and taken from her hotel to a police station, not given food or water for at least 5 hours before being charged and taken to the local jail late last night.

Global Witness understands that she has been charged with espionage and this morning was taken to court in Cabinda. Global Witness refutes any allegation of espionage by Dr Wykes and no evidence to support the charge has yet been presented. The Angolan authorities are denying Dr Wykes her own lawyers and are insisting on appointing a Government lawyer. Her camera and pen drive have been confiscated.

Dr Wykes has been a tireless campaigner for transparency in the oil sector and her arrest and subsequent incarceration are an affront to her human rights. She should be immediately and unconditionally released.

For more information contact: +44 (0)20 7561 6361, +44 (0)20 7561 6395 or +44 (0)7843 058 756

Angola: Anti-corruption campaigner remains incarcerated in Cabinda, Angola
Press Release – 20/02/2007

Global Witness employee Dr Sarah Wykes spent her second night in jail in Cabinda yesterday and remains in prison as of this afternoon. She is comfortable and has been provided with supplies by her civil society colleagues. She has also met with the UK consul.

Charges against her remain unclear but seem to centre on an allegation of violating national security: this covers a very broad and inspecific set of issues under Angolan law. Global Witness believes these charges are baseless and that she should be immediately and unconditionally released. She was due to be offered bail of c. US$2000 on Monday but the interim Attorney General in Cabinda has not yet signed the papers for her release. The bail conditions also remain unclear. Her court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday - today is a public holiday in Angola - though Global Witness is working to to get the interim Attorney General to sign the release papers today.

Dr Wykes originally travelled to Angola to speak to civil society, companies and the government to assess progress made on improving the transparency of the money from the Angola's oil sector, which constitutes the majority of the government's budget.

For more information contact: +44 (0)20 7561 6361, +44 (0)20 7561 6395 or +44 (0)7843 058 756

21/02/07 12.00 (GMT) Angola: Third night in prison for anti-corruption campaigner Dr Sarah Wykes

Dr. Sarah Wykes spent her third night in a cell in Cabinda. As of this morning, the charges on which she is being held remain unclear.

Her case is being heard in court today attended by her lawyers, athough Sarah remains in prison. We are expecting confirmation of her charges and bail conditions early this afternoon.

21/02/07 12.30 (GMT) Angola: GW campaigner bailed in Cabinda, Angola. Charges remain unclear

At 1.30pm Angolan time, Dr. Sarah Wykes was granted bail of 180,000 Kwanzas (US$2000) and has been released from prison.

No details on the charges alleged against her have been provided.

Global Witness is still calling for all charges against her to be dropped and hopes that she will now be allowed to leave the country to return home to her friends and family.

21/02/07 15.00 (GMT) Angola: Bailed GW campaigner charged with espionage

Global Witness has learnt at 4pm Angolan time, that Dr. Sarah Wykes, who was bailed from an Angolan prison this afternoon, will go on trial for espionage. It can take years for such cases to go to trial.

Her bail conditions require that she seek permission from the Angolan authorities if she wants to leave the country.

Dr Wykes originally travelled to Angola to speak to civil society, companies and the government to assess progress made on improving the transparency of the money from the Angola's oil sector, which constitutes the majority of the government's budget.

Global Witness believes that charges of espionage are completely unfounded and should be dropped immediately and unconditionally so that she be allowed to return to the UK.

22/02/07 13.00 (GMT) Angola: Dr. Sarah Wykes still in Cabinda and unclear as to the charges against her

Despite her lawyers' best efforts, Dr . Wykes was unable to leave Cabinda yesterday as police had not returned her passport in time for her to board the last plane to Luanda.

Her lawyers in Cabinda are still unable to gain access to the relevant documentation relating to her charges and bail conditions but are actively pursuing this.

Global Witness can see no justifiable reason for the delay, which is only adding to Dr Wykes' distress

22/02/07 18.00 (GMT) Angola: Dr Sarah Wykes to spend another night in Cabinda

Dr Sarah Wykes has been unable to leave Cabinda, for yet another day, due to unexplained administive delays.

She was questioned again by the Cabindan authorities but has still not received any official documentation as to the charges against her.


19-02-2007 - COMMUNIQUÉ

La Republic de Cabinda vient manifester son desaprobation et sa profonde indignation, non seulement contre la prison arbitraire et tous les moyens utilisés pour la détention de l'Activiste de Global Witness, Mme Sarah Wikes, déjà dénoncés, comme aussi pour la précaire situation où se trouve Sarah Wikes, en prison et au Cabinda, la même situation que celle-là qu’à rencontré tous ceux qui sont restés des détenus, le cas récent de l'Activiste des Droits Humains Raul Danda et d'autant autres.
La cellule dans laquelle Sahara se trouve est fermée à l’intérieure, sans fenêtres et ne possède pas de lit, ni matelas, ou sans au moins un couvre lit. Jusqu'à l'eau et aux bassins pour se laver, ainsi que la nourriture et l'eau à boire, doivent être apportées par des parents.

Comme Sahara Wikes est citoyenne Britannique et n'a aucune famille au Cabinda, est en train d'être soutenu dans ce sens par les Activistes des Droits Humains du Cabinda, plus spécifiquement par Augostinho Chicaia, le Président de la défunte Association Civique du Cabinda, Mpalabanda.

Aujourd'hui, Agostinho Chicaia, a dû prendre de sa maison le matelas qui a déjà servi pour Raul Danda, lors de sa prison, pour Sarah Wikes, ainsi que des draps pour ce même matelas. Il y a ceux qui l’appelle déjà, « le matelas des prisonniers de conscience », donc sa seule fonction qui est aller de la maison pour la prison et de la prison pour la maison, pour donner un peu plus de confort à tous les arbitrairement détenus, qu’au cas contraire dormiraient sur le sol.

Demain Chicaia devra prendre un ou plusieurs bidons d'eau, ainsi que des bassins, pour Mme Sahara pour pouvoir laver et des serviettes pour se nettoyer, ainsi que la nourriture pour qu’elle se nourrisse. Lui et tous du «groupe» de bonne volonté, bonne volonté celle qui continue à être une des vertus de ce Peuple Cabindais.

Celle-ci est Monsieur, la vie de ceux qui sont detenues arbitrairement au Cabinda et aussi ceux qui très généreusement et humainement les donnent l'aide nécessaire.

La Solidarité c’est ce que ici nous voyons, de personnes comme l'ingénieur Agostinho Chicaia, persécuté des plus diverses formes même au niveau de son emploi, qu’il a fini de perdre, d'avocats auxquels sont crée des constants entraves et problèmes, les cas des maîtres Francisco Luemba et de Martinho Nombo et des prêtres qui s'inquiètent au-dessus de tout avec le bien-être de leur semblable.

Sur un territoire qui est le principal fournisseur de pétrole, ensuite celui qui a plus contribué à la richesse d'angola, ses habitants vivent ainsi, sans aucunes conditions, sans garanties des personnes et sans le minimum de respect pour leurs libertés et garanties et pour leur travail.

C'est le Royaume de la Terreur implantée au Cabinda, où tous peuvent illégalement être accusés de tout, détenus, maltraités et humiliés, sans que l'État d'angola souffre les conséquences de leurs actes.

La Communauté Internationale, «commodement», a été sosu silence, aveugle, sourde et muete, emprisonnée seulement aux bénéfices du pétrole. Mais jusqu'à quand elle pourra continuer «à tourner le visage» de côté?

Sahara Wikes est une citoyenne britannique, n'a commis le terrible «crime» d'avoir été né au Cabinda, mais c'est plus une des victimes de l'intimidation du gouvernement angolais, que beaucoup proclame la transparence, mais après tout arrête qui travaille pour cette même transparence.

Nous allons donc tous combattre pour la liberté pour Sarah Wikes, plus une des victimes de l'arrogant régime angolais, qui a pour habitude accuser sans preuves et condamner illégalement.

África Monitor Intelligence

MPLA: Avisos da detenção de S Wikes em Cabinda

Nº 178 of 01 March 2007

Editor: Xavier de Figueiredo

Pesquisa e análise
A detenção em Cabinda de Sarah Wikes, da Global Witness, foi calculada pelo regime para atingir 2 objectivos principais – do interesse das suas políticas em relação ao território e ao petróleo:

- Escalar a pressão (AM 157) usada para lidar com adversidades que o processo de paz para Cabinda regista (nas modalidades de pressão referenciadas são constantes propósitos de intimidação); a aplicação do Memorando de Entendimento, concluído em 01.Ago.2006 (AM 127), tem sido comprometida por lacunas e fragilidades do mesmo.
- Fazer nova e cabal demonstração da atitude de rejeição de iniciativas externas tendentes a levar as companhias petrolíferas a divulgar as contas das suas operações em Angola; tais iniciativas são vistas como “intrusões” em assuntos do interesse nacional e como tal repelidas; estava alegadamente relacionada com este objectivo a missão de S Wikes em Cabinda.

A detenção de S Wikes, tendo em conta práticas recomendadas pela previsível repercussão que o assunto viria a ter, não teria sido executada sem conhecimento prévio do PR, J Eduardo dos Santos (JES) ou sem a sua permissão. De modo a diminuir a sua exposição foram usados artifícios como a sua ausência do país.

A acusação de espionagem, com base na qual a detenção foi efectuada, é equivalente à de crimes contra a segurança de Estado, usada para justificar medidas similares contra independentistas Cabindas. A vantagem respectiva é a de propiciar a intervenção do aparelho de Segurança, SINFO, bem como o uso de procedimentos mais intimidatórios.

De acordo com interpretações pertinentes, o intento do aumento da pressão interna pretendido com a detenção de S Wikes pode ter sido calculado para se projectar não apenas em Cabinda, mas também no resto do país – neste caso como manifestação de intimidação dirigida a outros focos de oposição e contestação.

Alguns antecedentes da pressão especialmente focalizada no caso de Cabinda, que o regime procurou elevar com a detenção de S Wykes, (a sua condição de estrangeira, ao serviço de uma ONG de renome, servia a repercussão pretendida):

- Extinção da Mpalabanda – Associação Cívica de Cabinda.
- Detenção de Raul Danda (AM 139), sob a acusação de crimes contra a segurança do Estado; a detenção ocorreu num momento em que o visado, residente em Luanda, desembarcava em Cabinda.
- Obstrução à realização em Cabinda de um debate sobre autonomia promovido pela Frente para a Democracia (FpD); a obstrução só começou a ser exercida quando os dirigentes da FpD e convidados para o debate já se encontravam no território.

O Governo negociou o Memorando de Entendimento impondo-lhe limites como o de envolver no mesmo apenas parceiros convenientes, i.e., com diminuta representatividade política e/ou passíveis de coação. Foi associada a tais parceiros a vantagem de uma maior contemporização com desígnios do regime.

O Governo e JES em particular (AM 110), não fazem tenção de conceder a Cabinda um estatuto político-administrativo especial, como a autonomia. A lógica da selecção dos interlocutores visou, em substância, manter o status actual – inspirador de mais confiança como forma de garantir o controlo da maior fonte de receitas do país, o petróleo.

As expectativas do regime admitiam que a conclusão do Memorando de Entendimento criaria uma dinâmica capaz de levar a uma subsequente adesão ao processo por parte de indivíduos ou meios mais credíveis, pelo seu pendor autonomista ou mesmo independentista. As adesões ocorreriam por efeito de acções de aliciamento ou coacção.

A impaciência que o Governo denota face a Cabinda, a qual conduziu à presente radicalização, é devida à escassez de adesões ao processo por parte da população e de outros Cabindas; idem em relação a reservas internacionais que se estão a manifestar em relação à consistência das garantias de pacificação no território.

A duvidosa representatividade dos indivíduos que o regime erigiu como seus parceiros negociais para celebrar o Memorando de Entendimento, entre os quais Bento Bembe, constituiu o principal fulcro das reservas internas e externas em relação ao processo – agravadas pelo prosseguimento de acções armadas (AM 176).

Embaraços registados no plano interno e internacional:

- A via negocial seguida foi contrariada por Fernando Miala, que preconizava a participação de interlocutores Cabindas mais credíveis; o insucesso tendencial do processo dá-lhe razão.

- Recomendações de companhias petrolíferas no sentido de ser encontrada uma solução mais sólida para o problema de Cabinda; a Roc Oil, australiana, e a Devon, norte-americana, hesitam iniciar a prospecção de petróleo no onshore sem uma prévia consolidação da paz no território; a Chevron, que opera no offshore, baseia as suas recomendações no exemplo da Nigéria, onde a resistencia independentistas do Delta do Niger passaram a dispôr de capacidade de operação naval.

- O Vaticano, embora mantendo-se distanciado do problema (AM 173), insiste com o Governo no sentido de alcançar uma solução melhor (a população de Cabinda é 85% católica); idem em relação aos EUA, que elevou a capacidade de acompanhamento do assunto.

A radicalização da política do Governo face a Cabinda também incomoda os EUA e o Vaticano devido às suas manifestações no plano dos direitos humanos. Relatórios de organizações internacionais, incluindo a ONU, referem amiúde acções de intimidação e de violência praticadas contra a população.

Ao mesmo tempo, vem sendo referenciado um incremento de covert actions do SINFO, directamente ou através de indivíduos agenciados, tendo em vista o aliciamento de quadros e dirigentes da FLEC no exterior (AM 165), com o objectivo de isolar o presidente da organização, Nzita Tiago.

O regime deixou de ter temor pela Global Witness depois que ter logrado, com o recurso a influências que entretanto adquiriu junto de figuras da organização, que a mesma deixasse de apoiar Rafael Marques na acção que o mesmo desenvolveu na denúncia da corrupção e de violações dos direitos civis e políticos em Angola.

Deduz-se que este facto também foi tido em conta na escolha de S Wikes como alvo de uma acção contra uma figura estrangeira, destinada a demonstrar aos Cabindas que o Governo não hesita em actuar contra quem quer que seja e a advertir as companhias petrolíferas para a intolerância da divulgação de contas.

As pressões para que as companhias petrolíferas que operam em Angola divulguem as suas contas remontam há mais de 10 anos, praticamente sem resultados. Apenas a BP, momentaneamente, aceitou divulgar as contas de um exercício.

Há c 1 ano um investigador de uma ONG norte-americana incumbido de estudar o assunto, foi impedido de entrar em Angola, depois de desembarcar no aeroporto de Luanda; regressando a Lisboa no mesmo avião (TAP). As razões invocadas para a recusa da entrada e outras s circunstâncias do episódio foram consideradas humilhantes.


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