The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned a decision by Angolan authorities to continue the trial of journalists Rafael Marques de Morais, who runs the anti-corruption news website Maka Angola, and Mariano Bras Lourenco, a correspondent for the newspaper O Crime, behind closed doors instead of in open court. 

The two were charged in June 2017 with crimes against the state.

Judge Josina Falcão ruled that proceedings will continue in the office of the attorney general, Hélder Fernando Pitta Grós, on April 24. Former Attorney General João Maria de Sousa, who filed charges against the two journalists, has refused to appear in open court claiming he has special privileges as the former attorney general.

"Today's developments flout the basic right to equality before the law, and call into question whether the state has something to hide," said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal on Monday. "We urge Angolan authorities to ensure that journalists Marques de Morais and Mariano Bras Lourenco receive a fair, transparent trial."

The charges against the two journalists relate to an article about deSousa originally published in Maka Angola in October 2016 and republished in O Crime.

- African News Agency (ANA)