LUANDA (Reuters) - An Angolan teenager who had been in prison for two months on charges of insulting President Jose Eduardo dos Santos was released from pre-trial detention on Friday shortly after starting a hunger strike, his lawyer said.
Nito Alves, 17, was arrested on September 12 for printing slogans on T-shirts which prosecutors say insulted Dos Santos, who has been in charge of Africa’s second-biggest oil producer for 34 years.
“He has just been released, which is what was important for us - for him to wait for the trial in freedom,” lawyer Salvador Freire Santos told Reuters.
Alves is a member of a youth movement that has held several protests since March 2011 accusing dos Santos of suppressing Angolans’ rights and not doing enough to tackle widespread poverty.
One of the alleged T-shirt slogans called dos Santos a “disgusting dictator” and the other was a quote from a local journalist about war being necessary to bring democracy to one of Africa’s most closed states.
The lawyers argued for Alves’ release as he had spent more than the maximum 45 days allowed for pre-trial detention. He will have to report to a police station once a week until his court appearance.
Reporting by Shrikesh Laxmidas; Editing by Ed Cropley