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Image modified by Club of Mozambique due its graphic contents: Facebook
Mozambican journalist and anti-corruption activist Fatima Mimbire has announced that she is suing a parliamentarian of the ruling Frelimo Party who threatened her with rape.
The parliamentary deputy in question, Alice Tomas, is herself a woman, and she took exception to a piece by Mimbire that appeared on Facebook supporting the proposal to make the late leader of the former rebel movement Renamo, Afonso Dhalkama, a “national hero”.
This is a highly controversial view, and some of those who dispute the “heroism” of Dhlakama have responded with reasoned arguments. Not so Alice Tomas. Her response was an implicit threat of violence.
On a Facebook thread, she made a comment that Mimbire “needs to be raped by ten strong men full of energy. Then they can let her go. Because that mouth only issues words that are poisonous to the Mozambican people”.
The thread began on Monday night, and sometime on Tuesday morning Alice Tomas’s comment had been erased. But by then the damage was done and a large number of social media users knew that a Frelimo deputy thinks rape is an appropriate punishment for somebody whose views she disagreed with.
On Wednesday, Mimbire announced that a complaint has been submitted to the Attorney-General’s Office (PGR). “Rape is an act of extreme violence and contempt for human dignity”, she wrote. “It should therefore be fought against vehemently, and those who promote it should be punished in an exemplary fashion”.
One of those supporting Mimbire is retired Supreme Court judge, Joao Carlos Trindade. On his Facebook page, he wrote that the comment by Alice Tomas was not only “indecent and ethically deplorable”, but also constituted a crime – incitement to rape – for which she should answer in court.
Under the Mozambican Penal Code, incitement to a crime by use of computers carries a prison sentence that can vary, depending on the seriousness of the case, from three days to two years.Since the offending comment was published on Facebook, it was a “public crime”, Trindade argued, which means that the Public Prosecutor’s Office should take action, regardless of whether Mimbire herself presses charges.
Mimbire, who worked as a journalist at AIM for several years, is currently a researcher at the anti-corruption NGO, the Centre for Public Integrity. She is a well known activist, in part because of her outspoken appearances on television chat shows.
So far, the Frelimo parliamentary group has made no public statement on the matter – even though Alice Tomas is in clear violation of her duties as a deputy. The law on the status of deputies states that a deputy’s duties include “fomenting the culture of peace, democracy and national reconciliation and respect for human rights”, and to contribute to “an increase in the prestige of parliament”.
Deputies are also obliged to treat with respect the other citizens they may come into contact with. None of this is compatible with incitement to hatred and rape.Source: AIM