21/03/07 Statement by Dr Sarah Wykes of Global Witness
Dr Sarah Wykes, a British national and senior campaigner at Global Witness, was arrested in Angola on 18th February 2007 while visiting the country to assess the transparency of its oil sector. She is being investigated under an Angolan national security law.
Dr Wykes was allowed to leave Angola on bail and returned to the United Kingdom on 18th March. However, the case against her continues. Global Witness is issuing the following statement by Dr Wykes:
"I am in good health and I am happy to be back in the United Kingdom to see my family and friends. I have been very moved by the amount of support I have received, in Angola and internationally, and I would like to thank very much everyone who supported me. I hope to return to Angola in future to continue my work in collaboration with our partners in civil society.
I believe that my work in Angola, promoting transparency in the oil sector, has not violated any Angolan law, as the laws and constitution of Angola protect the work of activists working on issues of transparency and good governance. Therefore, I believe there are no grounds for the case against me.
I am intending to file a formal request that the case be dropped and hope that it can be quickly resolved in accordance with the appropriate procedures of Angolan law.
There is growing international awareness that more transparency in the management of oil and mining revenues is needed so that citizens of countries rich in such natural resources can have greater oversight over the revenues and ensure that this wealth is used wisely and fairly. The work of Global Witness in promoting resource revenue transparency, in Angola and many other countries, will continue."
The Global Witness spokesperson on this case is Diarmid O'Sullivan, who can be reached on +44-207-561-63-63. In Angola, Dr Wykes' lawyer is Dra. Anacleta Pereira and her spokesperson is Dr Fernando Macedo, who can be reached on +244-923-27-66-71.
Please direct all queries or requests for comment to Mr O'Sullivan or Dr. Macedo.
Note for the media: Dr Wykes is unfortunately not able to give live interviews at the moment. However, Global Witness may be able to provide sound recordings of comments by Dr Wykes, on request.
19 March 2007: Dr Sarah Wykes returns home to the United Kingdom
Dr Sarah Wykes arrived back in the United Kingdom today, a month after being arrested in Angola while visiting the country to assess transparency in its oil sector.
Although Dr Wykes has been allowed to leave Angola, the case against her continues. She has been charged under an Angolan law concerning crimes against national security. The charges are baseless and should be dropped.
Dr Wykes, a senior campaigner at Global Witness, was visiting Angola to find out about the country's progress in making the management of its oil revenues more open and accountable to Angola's citizens. This involved meetings with members of local civil society, the government and foreign oil companies.
It was her second such visit to Angola and she was traveling on an official visa. Despite this, she was arrested in Angola's Cabinda province on 18th February and kept in jail for the next three days before being released on bail. She was not given permission to leave Angola until 15th March.
Global Witness calls on the Angolan judicial authorities to bring the case against Dr Wykes to an immediate end.
16 March 2007 Angola: Attorney General grants Dr Wykes appeal to leave the country.
Yesterday Dr Sarah Wykes was officially notified that her appeal to leave the country has been granted by the Attorney General on the condition that she returns to Angola if the judicial authorities request it. She should now be able to return to her friends and family in London pending permission from the immigration police.
14 March 2007 Situation update: Dr Sarah Wykes in Angola
Media reports today have quoted the Attorney-General of Angola, Dr. Augusto Carneiro, as saying that Dr Sarah Wykes is now free to leave Angola. He is quoted as saying: "She can leave today, tomorrow, whenever she wants."
Global Witness is very encouraged by this statement to the media by the Attorney-General. However, we were surprised by it because her lawyer has not yet been officially notified of the decision.
Since there has been no official notification, we do not yet know what the conditions are for Dr Wykes to leave the country and when all the official procedures will be completed.
Global Witness urges the Angolan authorities to take all possible steps to ensure that the formalities are speedily completed so Dr. Wykes can return to her family and friends in the United Kingdom.
12/3/07 Angolan authorities due to decide whether Dr Wykes can leave the country
Dr Wykes is still in Luanda, waiting for a response from the Angolan judicial authorities to her appeal to be allowed to leave the country. Global Witness is expecting a decision tomorrow.
06/03/07 18.00 (GMT) Dr Wykes files appeal to be allowed to leave Angola
Dr Wykes has appealed to the Angolan authorities for permission to leave the country. Until that time, she will be compelled to remain in Luanda. Global Witness continues to call for her to be allowed to return to the United Kingdom, and for the charges against her to be dropped.
28/02/07 18.00 (GMT) Dr Wykes allowed to leave Cabinda
Dr Sarah Wykes has now arrived in Luanda, the Angolan capital, after being allowed to leave Cabinda earlier today. She has not been given permission to leave the country and the case against her continues, even though it is baseless.
28/02/07 17.00 (GMT) Angola
Dr Wykes has finally been given permission to leave Cabinda and is now on the plane flying to Luanda. Although this is a welcome development, the case against her continues and she has not been allowed to leave Angola.
28/02/07 Cabinda, Angola: Global Witness employee granted permission to leave for Luanda but must remain in Angola to face national security charges
At about midday Angolan time, Dr Sarah Wykes was given permission to leave Cabinda and travel back to Luanda. She intends to do this today. She has been allowed to travel to Luanda on condition that she report to the police every two days. Permission has not yet been granted for her to leave Angola.
She has been notified verbally of the charges against her which involve an alleged violation of Article 26 of Angolan law relating to crimes against national security. Sarah and her lawyer have requested access to documentation relating to these charges and to any evidence against her but so far, permission has been denied.
Global Witness is relieved that she is finally able to travel and calls on the Angolan Government to allow her to leave the country and to drop the unfounded case against her.
Angola: Anti-corruption campaigner still unable to leave Cabinda
27/02/07 16.00 GMT. The Angolan authorities must present Dr Wykes with her paperwork by tomorrow morning
A five-day period for the Angolan authorities to present Dr Wykes with paperwork enabling her to leave Cabinda is coming to an end. She must be presented with it by tomorrow morning at the latest, or the authorities must explain the delay.
Dr Wykes still does not know exactly what she is accused of. She is still waiting to be allowed to travel from Cabinda to Luanda and then to leave Angola.
Since the case against her is baseless, the delays in the paperwork are creating a pointless obstacle which is causing distress to all involved. The authorities should immediately drop the charges and allow her to leave the country.
26/02/07 12.00 (GMT) Angola: Dr Sarah Wykes remains in Cabinda still awaiting permission to leave After a quiet weekend, Dr Wykes is still waiting for the Cabindan authorities to process the paperwork relating to her case and to grant her permission to travel back to Luanda.
She is expecting a visit from a senior UK Consular official today whom Global Witness hopes may expedite this process.
Eight days after her arrest, Dr Wykes has still not been provided with clear details on the charges she is facing.
23/02/07 18.00 (GMT) Angola: Dr Sarah Wykes faces weekend in Cabinda
Dr Wykes has been forced to spend the weekend in Cabinda due to problems in getting the paperwork she needs to return to Luanda. There is still no information as to when she will be able to leave.
Global Witness strongly urges the Cabindan authorities to process the paperwork relating to her case as soon as possible and allow her to travel to Luanda on Monday morning.
22/02/07 18.00 (GMT) Angola: Dr Sarah Wykes to spend another night in Cabinda
Dr Sarah Wykes has been unable to leave Cabinda, for yet another day, due to unexplained administive delays.
She was questioned again by the Cabindan authorities but has still not received any official documentation as to the charges against her.
22/02/07 13.00 (GMT) Angola: Dr. Sarah Wykes still in Cabinda and unclear as to the charges against her
Despite her lawyers' best efforts, Dr . Wykes was unable to leave Cabinda yesterday as police had not returned her passport in time for her to board the last plane to Luanda.
Her lawyers in Cabinda are still unable to gain access to the relevant documentation relating to her charges and bail conditions but are actively pursuing this.
Global Witness can see no justifiable reason for the delay, which is only adding to Dr Wykes' distress.
21/02/07 15.00 (GMT) Angola: Bailed GW campaigner charged with espionage
Global Witness has learnt at 4pm Angolan time, that Dr. Sarah Wykes, who was bailed from an Angolan prison this afternoon, will go on trial for espionage. It can take years for such cases to go to trial.
Her bail conditions require that she seek permission from the Angolan authorities if she wants to leave the country.
Dr Wykes originally travelled to Angola to speak to civil society, companies and the government to assess progress made on improving the transparency of the money from the Angola's oil sector, which constitutes the majority of the government's budget.
Global Witness believes that charges of espionage are completely unfounded and should be dropped immediately and unconditionally so that she be allowed to return to the UK.
21/02/07 12.30 (GMT) Angola: GW campaigner bailed in Cabinda, Angola. Charges remain unclear.
At 1.30pm Angolan time, Dr. Sarah Wykes was granted bail of 180,000 Kwanzas (US$2000) and has been released from prison.
No details on the charges alleged against her have been provided.
Global Witness is still calling for all charges against her to be dropped and hopes that she will now be allowed to leave the country to return home to her friends and family.
21/02/07 12.00 (GMT) Angola: Third night in prison for anti-corruption campaigner Dr Sarah Wykes
Dr. Sarah Wykes spent her third night in a cell in Cabinda. As of this morning, the charges on which she is being held remain unclear.
Her case is being heard in court today attended by her lawyers, athough Sarah remains in prison. We are expecting confirmation of her charges and bail conditions early this afternoon.
20/02/07 12.00 (GMT) Angola: Anti-corruption campaigner remains incarcerated in Cabinda, Angola
Global Witness employee Dr Sarah Wykes spent her second night in jail in Cabinda yesterday and remains in prison as of this afternoon. She is comfortable and has been provided with supplies by her civil society colleagues. She has also met with the UK consul.
19/02/07 10.00 (GMT) Angola: Immediate release of anti-corruption campaigner required
Human rights and anti-corruption campaign group Global Witness is demanding the immediate and unconditional release of their employee Dr Sarah Wykes, a highly respected international anti-corruption campaigner.
Dr Wykes was arrested by armed Angolan police on the morning of Sunday 18th February in Cabinda, whilst visiting the oil rich enclave to meet with local civil society representatives. She was arrested and taken from her hotel to a police station, not given food or water for at least 5 hours before being charged and taken to the local jail late last night.
Global Witness understands that she has been charged with espionage and this morning was taken to court in Cabinda. Global Witness refutes any allegation of espionage by Dr Wykes and no evidence to support the charge has yet been presented. The Angolan authorities are denying Dr Wykes her own lawyers and are insisting on appointing a Government lawyer.
Dr Wykes has been a tireless campaigner for transparency in the oil sector and her arrest and subsequent incarceration are an affront to her human rights. She should be immediately and unconditionally released.