Angola: Sarah Wykes, human rights defender (2)

Re: Sarah Wykes, human rights defender

To: José Eduardo dos Santos, President of the Republic, and others

From: Maegen M. Giltrow

Date: 2007-03-13

I am writing out of profound concern regarding the current situation of British citizen Sarah Wykes, who is currently detained in your country.

I am a member of Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, an organization concerned about the rights of individuals who advocate for the human rights of citizens around the world. We are a committee of Canadian lawyers providing support internationally to advocates whose rights, safety, or independence are threatened as a result of their human rights advocacy. The current reported situation of Ms. Wykes is of grave concern to us.

Ms. Wykes was, I understand, recently permitted entry into Angola on a visa provided by your government. The purpose of her trip was to meet with individuals and groups to inquire into conditions surrounding oil revenues in Angola, and this purpose was made known to your government upon her application for an entry visa. We have learned however, that while in Angola she was abruptly arrested and detained without formal or written charge. While she has since been released from detention, she is currently prevented from leaving Angola, as her passport has been confiscated.

As an organization we are very concerned about this sort of intimidation against any human rights defender. Arbitrary arrest and detention without charge are not legitimate acts of state. We call for any formal charges against Ms. Wykes to be withdrawn immediately, and for the return of her passport, and the assurance of her safe passage from Angola, should she choose to leave.

Lawyers Rights Watch Canada awaits your response. Thank you for your attention to our concerns.