Angola: Rapper arrested for drug smuggling: ‘I was framed’
Luaty Beirão, a popular Angolan rapper known by the artist name Ikonoklasta, has been beaten up, arrested, his house broken into, his girlfriend kidnapped, and his family has been terrorised with anonymous death threats. On 11 June 2012, he was arrested again – this time at Portela Airport in the Portugese capital Lisboa after customs officers had found a bag of cocaine in his bicycle tire. He was relased the next day.
In this video interview, Luaty Beirão explains his case:
Press the red ‘CC’ button to get English subtitles
Ikonoklasta, (full name: Henrique Luaty da Silva Beirão) speaks up against the government during his shows, and he is known for organising political demonstrations. He was the target of beatings by a pro-regime militia group on 10 March 2012 in Cazenga district in Luanda.
He flew to Lisboa in June to join the Portuguese group Batida for their European tour.
Angolan journalist, blogger and anti-corruption campaigner Rafael Marques de Morais wrote on 12 June 2012:
The history of political pressure against Luaty Beirão is already significant. The June 2, 2011, the residence where he lived in Vila Alice neighborhood in Luanda, was invaded by a group of more than 50 youths who allegedly demanded payment for their involvement in a demonstration. Strangely, the young men, all unknown to the Luaty Beirão, were to be accompanied by state journalists who reported their salvation “through the prompt intervention of the National Police.” People threw bottles and various items for your home and, despite the location of Precinct 3 in a neighboring street, there was no intervention of law enforcement agencies to respond and arrest troublemakers.
The June 17, 2011, while accompanying his grandmother to the bank, three men attacked him in broad daylight, along the St. John Funeral Home, in the Alameda area, in Luanda. Despite the presence of passers-by and several security guards, attackers have caused him injury in the arms, legs and lower back.
Last September, his girlfriend has been kidnapped in Lisbon, at the same time he made arrangements for the public release of their imprisoned comrades on September 3, during a demonstration against President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. The two robbers threatened to rape her and urged her to advise her boyfriend to stop their protest activities against the regime in Angola. The Ikonoklasta preferred to keep silent about the case, as well as on the numerous times that her car was vandalized in Luanda, the nonstriking tires and cut the pipos.
Last December, for Christmas, unknown individuals sent as a present, a teddy bear to his grandmother, with whom he lived. A letter accompanied the bear, threatening death to family, racial insults and the promise of invasion and burning of the house with everyone inside.
Affected as one of the most influential youth protest movement that has grown in Luanda, and caused many headaches to the authorities, the arrest of Mata Frakus, another of his stage names certainly cause a great stir.
In addition to his protest activities and critical bend of lyrics, Luaty Beirão is also the child of a figure that was very close to Jose Eduardo dos Santos. His late father, João Beirão, was the all-powerful director-general of the Eduardo dos Santos Foundation (FESA), that in the 90s and part of the next decade, became known as a parallel government, with greater authority over the political institutions of the state.
Violent campaigns and elections
Freemuse correspondent in Angola reports that ‘government agents’ have intensified the attacks on musicians such as Luaty Beirão, as he is also deeply involved in the ongoing civic and political protest movement ‘Central 7311′, that is accused of siding with the political opposition.
The space for public debate and alternative voices and oppinions amongst the civil society and political actors has been tightened dramatically as the parliamentary election approach, reports the correspondents from Luanda, Angola.
Elections are due on 31 August