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Friday, 27 October, 2000, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
Angolan journalist's sentences reduced

The Supreme Court in Angola has reduced a six-month jail sentence given to a prominent journalist, Rafael Marques, to a suspended sentence.

The court ruled on appeal that Mr Marques sentence should be suspended for five years on condition that he doesn't write anything that the authorities might construe as being defamatory.

The court, however, upheld Mr Marques conviction for defaming the president in a newspaper article.

Mr Marques had written that the Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos should be held accountable for the country's near collapse amid government corruption.

The Supreme Court also reduced the sentences of two other journalists on appeal, Aguiar dos Santos and Gustavo Costa. Human rights groups and several countries have condemned the Angolan government for harassing and jailing dozens of journalists since the resumption of the civil war in 1998.

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