Activist Mamadou Ba begins trial for defamation of Mário Machado

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Anti-racist activist Mamadou Ba begins trial today for defamation, publicity and slander in a case brought by neo-Nazi activist Mário Machado in which Ba has former minister Francisca Van Dunem as a witness.

neo-Nazi activist Mário Machado
neo-Nazi activist Mário Machado

Last October 27, it was made public that the anti-racism activist Mamadou Ba was going to trial for defamation of the former leader of the “Hammerskins Portugal” movement Mário Machado, after a decision by the criminal investigation judge Carlos Alexandre, who issued an order of indictment for trial in a single trial “in the exact terms” of the prosecution’s accusation.

The indictment states that Mamadou Ba “has not even come to prove the truth of the facts”, noting that if the defendant has knowledge of crimes committed by Mário Machado, he should report them “in the proper place”, i.e. to the police or the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

“What he cannot do is substitute himself for the courts and invoke the right of freedom of expression,” concluded the investigating judge, regarding the defendant’s calling Mário Machado, in 2020, a “murderer” of the Cape Verdean Alcindo Monteiro, who was killed in Lisbon in June 1995 by members of a skinhead group.

Activist Mamadou Ba
Activist Mamadou Ba

Mário Machado was connected to that group, but he was not convicted of murder in the trial for the death of Alcindo Monteiro, which is why he decided to file a criminal complaint against Mamadou Ba for defamation, publicity and slander.

Judge Carlos Alexandre also justified his decision because he believes that Mário Machado has already responded in court for that case, questioning: “Can a person carry an anathema all his life when he is accused of participating, in any capacity, in a homicide, whose fact has already been introduced in court and subjected to a lengthy trial and with a ruling by the STJ, where he is acquitted of that specific crime, but convicted of another? And to call this freedom of expression?

In the debate held in October, Isabel Duarte, Mamadou Ba’s defense lawyer, claimed that in this case “there is no honor that can be offended,” adding that she doesn’t understand the facts imputed to the anti-racist activist by the private prosecution (which was accompanied by the Public Prosecutor’s Office).

Among the witnesses listed by the defense are, besides Francisca Van Dunem, the diplomat and socialist Ana Gomes, the former BE leader Francisco Louçã, the sociologist Boaventura Sousa Santos, the deputy and leader of Livre Rui Tavares, the former deputy Miguel Vale de Almeida and the journalists Diana Andringa, Daniel Oliveira and Paulo Pena, among others.

Former Minister Francisca Van Dunem, retired judge-counselor, will testify in writing, and the defense of Mamadou Ba, led by Isabel Duarte, has also indicated witnesses who will testify on the facts, on the personality of the accused, and on the text that motivated the complaint.

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