The Angolan constitution guarantees immunity to lawyers so that they can do their work without being subjected to any form of intimidation.

But why did Mananga Padi, a lawyer for human rights activists linked to the Independent Cabinda Movement (MIC), steal his desktop computers on January 14 and suffer from people trying to enter home and destroy his balcony with objects to undo gratitude and cut the irons?

In an interview with Voice of America, Mananga Padi recounted this experience and what he expects from the Angolan authorities. The lawyer began to defend MIC activists inside and outside the courts from February 2019.

“The experience was very hard and bitter. Whenever the lawyer seems to be defending similar situations, he is considered an enemy. ”

Padi argued that this should not happen, since the lawyer is a liberal professional, who is not attached to any party position.

“When we took part in this mission, we did it simply because we were lawyers and nothing else. But unfortunately, we ended up being confused as if we were also part of this movement or similar movements. “

Padi said the situation started to get worse in December, culminating in a robbery on January 14 at the law firm Mananga Padi e Associados. According to the lawyer, there are many valuables in the office, such as plasmas, printers, photocopiers, but only five computers were taken, which contained information about the activists’ case. On the same day, they also tried to enter Padi’s house, but they failed. The lawyer states that each time he denounces the irregularities inherent in the activists’ process, he is intimidated.

He recently granted an interview to Voice of America on the case of the eight activists imprisoned in Cabinda since December 2019 and responsible for the crimes of armed rebellion, association of criminals, crime of resistance and contempt of state. Three days after the interview was published, they tried to enter his house again, but without success. However, the attackers destroyed the attorney’s balcony with objects to defeat gratitude and cut the irons.

“A country cannot move forward when people with fresh ideas are attacked. Nor can he go forward when a simple professional liberal is attacked while he is exercising within the framework of the functions which are conferred on him in the exercise of his profession ”.

In five years of work, the law firm Mananga Padi e Associados has not suffered any attempted theft. With regard to contacts with the authorities regarding these acts in his office and at his home, Mananga Padi went to the Cabinda Criminal Investigation Service (SIC), but in fact, the lawyer admitted that he did not ‘have done that to complete the formality.

“Given the way the theft happened, I was already expecting there to be no investigation. Because I believe that the local criminal investigation service only works in cases where it wants to find a result. In this case, I think that the service will have no interest in finding the result of this flight ”.

Constitutional immunity

Mananga Padi explained that paragraphs 1 and 2 of article 194 of the Angolan Constitution guarantee that the lawyer is authorized to explain the progress of the process in which he pleads and that he cannot be attacked directly on his person or his family or your home, by authorities or others at the expense of this.

Padi added that the Angolan constitution guarantees the inviolability of the lawyer’s documents and all the files.

“But unfortunately, today we see the opposite. As an agent, we note that our information on the computer has been sent diplomatically. They sent third parties to seek information available to the lawyer. ”

Mananga Padi believes that what is happening to him is due to the confusion people make when they find a firm, serious and incorruptible lawyer. The reaction of the people is to conclude that this lawyer is partisan, belongs to a certain movement and shortly after the direct attacks begin. “We understand that such a procedure is completely wrong.”

Padi said he feared for his life, but added that “the truth speaks louder than anything else.”

The future of Cabinda and the authorities

Regarding what he wants for Cabinda, the lawyer said he expected social justice locally and internationally. “If Cabinda is Angola, there must be evidence and it should be Angola. And if Cabinda is not Angola and with proof that Cabinda is released ”.

The lawyer added that it is important that the authorities listen, give the detainees time so that they can plead the reasons that lead them day after day to the streets for demonstrations, and concluded:

“Because we understand that any solution that has been attempted by repression, by punishment does not work. The proof is that on February 1, 2019, those who took to the streets were arrested, arrested, but on the 10th, they did the same. In addition, on the 12th, they also did the same. This therefore means that what radiates in each conflict is dialogue, it is consensus ”.

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