Angolan opposition journalist’s wife assaulted in apparent retaliation for reporting

New York, October 4, 2022 – Angolan authorities must quickly investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the attack on Ludmila Pinto, the wife of broadcaster Claudio Pinto, in an apparent warning to the journalist, the Committee for Peace said on Tuesday. protection of journalists.

At around 6 p.m. on September 20, two unidentified men whose faces were concealed by surgical masks broke into the Pintos’ home in Luanda, the capital, according to a statement from Radio Despertar, media reports, and the journalist and his wife, who both spoke to CPJ via a messaging app. Claudio Pinto, who hosts the “In” news program on Radio Despertar, which belongs to the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) opposition party, was not at home at the time. the.

The men tied Ludmila Pinto’s arms and legs with a clothesline and repeatedly slapped her, punched her in the stomach and kicked her all over her body while threatening to kill their crying one-year-old son, the journalist told CPJ. One of the attackers went into the kitchen, heated a kitchen knife and cut Ludmila Pinto at least 16 times on the arm and 12 times on the legs, she told CPJ. The men said they would “come back to finish the job if her husband didn’t shut up,” she said.

“Authorities must thoroughly investigate the brutal attack on the wife and son of Radio Despertar journalist Claudio Pinto and ensure that the perpetrators are swiftly arrested and successfully prosecuted,” said the South Africa program coordinator. CPJ, Angela Quintal. “If you don’t, you will send the message that the same goes for President João Lourenço’s second term as President of Angola, where journalists continue to be denied their right to work without fear and where self-censorship is endemic”.

The ruling party, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) won the disputed August 24 election with a slim majority, which won Lourenço a second term as president amid opposition allegations of voter fraud that led to large protests.

Pinto, who works under the name King, told CPJ the men were in the house for about 20 minutes and left a scribbled note in Portuguese saying “King Aviso” (“King Warning”).

Pinto told CPJ he believed the attack was prompted by his show’s coverage of the election, particularly its reporting that the ruling party lost the vote in Luanda. He also said the attack may have been in response to a interview on his show with one of the radio station’s election commentators criticizing the Secret Service for allegedly persecuting activists, politicians and journalists. “They are professionals who entered my house and left without a trace,” Pinto said.

Ludmila Pinto told CPJ she heard the pair say her husband was ‘close to the boss’, ‘knows a lot’ and that they might need to ‘finish the job if he doesn’t shut up’. . Her husband told CPJ he thought the “boss” was likely a reference to UNITA leader Adalberto Costa Júnior.

The couple opened a case at the local Kilamba police station, and Ludmila Pinto was treated for her injuries at the local Sagrada Esperança clinic and was also receiving trauma support, the journalist said. He said police came to his house the next day to collect evidence.

Commander José “Caly” do Carmo of the Kilamba police station in Luanda told CPJ by phone that the investigation into the attack was progressing and that he had no further information to share.

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