People were subject to arbitrary arrest and detention by police, and prolonged detention without trial. Excessive use of force by police was reported. Appalling conditions in prisons led to riots.
On 8 March a shoot-out between police in Nampula city and about 300 members of the opposition Mozambique National Resistance (Resistência Nacional Moçambicana, Renamo) resulted in the deaths of a police officer and a Renamo member, and injuries to several others, both police and Renamo. Police had raided the Renamo headquarters where the men had set up camp since December 2011, apparently awaiting orders from the party leader, Afonso Dhlakama, to stage anti-government protests. At the end of October Afonso Dhlakama moved with about 800 men to the Renamo former base in Gorongosa, Sofala province, threatening to return to war unless the government agreed to meet them. In November a government commission was set up to begin dialogue with Renamo. In December, four Renamo members were convicted and sentenced to nine months and 11 days’ imprisonment in connection with the March shoot-out. They were released immediately as they had spent that time in pre-trial detention.
On 11 May parliament elected former Minister of Justice, José Abudo, as the first Justice Ombudsman. On 5 September, 11 commissioners of the new National Human Rights Commission were sworn in.
In September President Guebuza was re-elected Frelimo president at the party’s 10th congress.Top of page
Between February and November, over 20 Asian businessmen and family members were kidnapped in the capital Maputo and held for ransom. The Asian business community alleged that the police were involved in the kidnappings. In September individuals suspected of involvement were arrested and released, apparently due to lack of evidence. Others were arrested in November; no further information was available by the end of the year.
In April the Commander General of Police acted in defiance of a court decision and reportedly stated that he was not bound by the decision of the judiciary with regard to police discipline.
Police carried out arbitrary arrests and detentions, a number of which were politically motivated. Some detainees were released without charge. None appeared to have received compensation and no police officers appeared to have been held criminally responsible.
In July the Maputo Administrative Court ordered the state to pay 500,000 meticais (about US$17,000) in compensation to the mother of an 11-year-old boy who was killed by a stray bullet fired by police during violent demonstrations in Maputo in September 2010. No officer was held accountable. There were further cases of excessive use of force by the police during the year.
In at least three prisons in Maputo and two in Nampula, hundreds of people were held without trial, some without charge, for longer than the time legally allowed. Thousands of people remained similarly detained throughout the country.
Prisoners in Nampula Central Prison and Beira Central Prison rioted in March and September respectively in protest against overcrowding, poor food and health conditions. The Rapid Intervention Force used excessive force during the riots at Nampula Central Prison, which was condemned by the Minister of Justice. Conditions at Nampula Central Prison were harsh, with extreme overcrowding, insanitary conditions, nutritionally inadequate food and poor medical facilities. Similar conditions were recorded in other prisons.
Amnesty International visits/reportsTop of page