Mozambique court jails police officers for murder of election observer

A Mozambique court on Thursday convicted six officers from an elite police unit of murder in the killing of electoral observer and rights activist Anastácio Matavel days before last year’s presidential election.

Matavel was shot 10 times by a group of men armed with assault rifles in the southern province of Gaza during weeks of low-level violence in the country as supporters of the long-ruling Frelimo party clashed with those of the opposition Renamo before the vote won by the incumbent, Filipe Nyusi.

The Judicial Court of the Province of Gaza on Thursday handed the six policemen sentences of between three and 24 years for their involvement in the murder, while a seventh accused, a civilian, was acquitted.

The court also ordered the six to pay compensation of 1.5 million meticais ($22,000) to Matavel’s family.

Mozambique police and government authorities did not respond to telephoned requests by Reuters for comment.

($1 = 69.2500 meticais)

Reporting by Manuel Mucari; Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Mark Heinrich