The Luanda Trial was a trial held in Luanda, Angola, in June 1976 during the Angolan Civil War. Thirteen Western mercenaries were sentenced to either long prison terms or execution by firing squad.
Luanda, formerly named São Paulo da Assunção de Loanda, is the capital and largest city in Angola, It is Angola's primary port, and its major industrial, cultural and urban centre. Located on Angola's northern coast with the Atlantic Ocean, Luanda is both Angola's chief seaport and its administrative centre. It is also the capital city of Luanda Province. Luanda and its metropolitan area is the most populous Portuguese-speaking capital city in the world, with over 8 million inhabitants in 2019. Among the oldest colonial cities of Africa, it was founded in January 1576 by Portuguese explorer Paulo Dias de Novais, under the name of São Paulo da Assunção de Loanda. The city served as the centre of the slave trade to Brazil before its prohibition. At the start of the Angolan Civil War in 1975, most of the white Portuguese left as refugees, principally for Portugal. Luanda's population increased greatly from refugees fleeing the war, but its infrastructure was inadequate to handle the increase. This also caused the exacerbation of slums, or musseques, around Luanda. The city is currently undergoing a major reconstruction, with many large developments taking place that will alter its cityscape significantly.
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola, is a west-coast country of south-central Africa. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa, bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Angola has an exclave province, the province of Cabinda that borders the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda.
The Angolan Civil War was a civil conflict in Angola, beginning in 1975 and continuing, with interludes, until 2002. The war began immediately after Angola became independent from Portugal in November 1975. The war was a power struggle between two former liberation movements, the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). The war was used as a surrogate battleground for the Cold War by rival states such as the Soviet Union, Cuba, South Africa and the United States.
Angola had gained its independence from Portugal on 11 November 1975, but the new country was immediately immersed in a three-sided civil war. The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) was supported by the Soviet Union and Cuba, while the United States and some of its allies backed the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).
Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.
The People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola, for some years called the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party, is a political party that has ruled Angola since the country's independence from Portugal in 1975. The MPLA fought against the Portuguese army in the Angolan War of Independence of 1961–74, and defeated the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA), two other anti-colonial movements, in the Angolan Civil War of 1975–2002.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
Thirteen mercenaries fighting for the FNLA – nine British, three American and one Irish – were captured by MPLA forces by mid-February 1976. On May 26, they were indicted by the People's Revolutionary Court in Luanda.
An indictment is a criminal accusation that a person has committed a crime. In jurisdictions that use the concept of felonies, the most serious criminal offence is a felony; jurisdictions that do not use the felonies concept often use that of an indictable offence, an offence that requires an indictment.
The trial lasted from June 11 to June 16. There were five judges. The presiding judge was Ernesto Teixeira da Silva, the Attorney General of Angola.The other judges were the Director of Angolan Television, two military officers and a member of the National Council of Women in Angola. Guilty verdicts were a foregone conclusion; before the trial had even begun, Luis de Almeida, the Director of Information and Security, stated that the defendants were guilty and that the only thing that needed to be determined was how much punishment to mete out. The following sentences were passed on June 28, 1976:
Execution by firing squad:
Costas Georgiou was an ethnic Greek Cypriot, British mercenary executed in Angola following the Luanda Trial for activities during the civil war phase of the Angolan War of Independence.
30 years' imprisonment:
24 years' imprisonment:
16 years' imprisonment:
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.
Some of the verdicts had been expected, especially regarding Callan; one of his fellow mercenaries described him as "a homicidal maniac, who spent a lot of time killing blacks just for fun".However, Gearhart had arrived in Angola only days before his capture; defense lawyers provided evidence he had never fired a shot, and probably had not even participated in combat. Acker, an ex-Marine, had been shot in the leg and taken prisoner in his very first taste of combat within five days after arriving in the country. British Prime Minister James Callaghan reportedly requested Angolan President Agostinho Neto to show mercy to the men.
Nevertheless, the four condemned men were executed by MPLA military police on July 10, 1976.According to British former mercenaries Chris Dempster and Dave Tomkins, only McKenzie was killed outright. Callan and Gearhart were killed by coup de grace, while Barker, who was unscathed but had apparently fainted, was shot after waking up while his 'body' was being removed on a stretcher.
The two remaining Americans, Grillo and Acker, were released in November 1982 in a prisoner exchange worked out by the United States Department of State.The British and Irish prisoners were released in 1984 after negotiation by the British Foreign Office.
Angola is a country in southwestern Africa. The country's name derives from the Kimbundu word for king. It was first settled by San hunter-gatherer societies before the northern domains came under the rule of Bantu states such as Kongo and Ndongo. From the 15th century, Portuguese colonists began trading, and a settlement was established at Luanda during the 16th century. Portugal annexed territories in the region which were ruled as a colony from 1655, and Angola was incorporated as an overseas province of Portugal in 1951. After the Angolan War of Independence, which ended with an army mutiny and leftist coup in Lisbon, Angola's independence was achieved on November 11, 1975 through the Alvor Agreement. After independence, Angola later entered a period of civil war that lasted up until 2002.
António Agostinho Neto served as the 1st President of Angola (1975–1979), having led the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in the war for independence (1961–1974). Until his death, he led the MPLA in the civil war (1975–2002). Known also for his literary activities, he is considered Angola's preeminent poet. His birthday is celebrated as National Heroes' Day, a public holiday in Angola.
The National Front for the Liberation of Angola is a political party and former militant organisation that fought for Angolan independence from Portugal in the war of independence, under the leadership of Holden Roberto.
The Angolan War of Independence (1961–1974) began as an uprising against forced cotton cultivation, and it became a multi-faction struggle for the control of Portugal's overseas province of Angola among three nationalist movements and a separatist movement. The war ended when a leftist military coup in Lisbon in April 1974 overthrew Portugal's Estado Novo regime, and the new regime immediately stopped all military action in the African colonies, declaring its intention to grant them independence without delay.
Holden Álvaro Roberto founded and led the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) from 1962 to 1999. His memoirs are unfinished.
Operation Savannah was the South African Defence Force's 1975–1976 covert intervention in the Angolan War of Independence, and the subsequent Angolan Civil War.
Angola – United States relations are diplomatic relations between the Republic of Angola and the United States of America. These relations were tense during the Angolan Civil War when the U.S. government backed National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) rebels, but have warmed since the Angolan government renounced Communism in 1992.
General elections were held in Angola on 29 and 30 September 1992 to elect a President and National Assembly, the first time free and multi-party elections had been held in the country. They followed the signing of the Bicesse Accord on 31 May 1991 in an attempt to end the 17-year-long civil war. Voter turnout was 91.3% for the parliamentary election and 91.2% for the presidential election.
The Alvor Agreement, signed on 15 January 1975, granted Angola independence from Portugal on 11 November, ending the war for independence while marking the transition to the Angolan Civil War.
The 1970s in Angola, a time of political and military turbulence, saw the end of Angola's War of Independence (1961–1975) and the outbreak of civil war (1975–2002). Agostinho Neto, the leader of the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), declared the independence of the People's Republic of Angola on November 11, 1975, in accordance with the Alvor Accords. UNITA and the FNLA also declared Angolan independence as the Social Democratic Republic of Angola based in Huambo and the Democratic Republic of Angola based in Ambriz. FLEC, armed and backed by the French government, declared the independence of the Republic of Cabinda from Paris. The National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) forged an alliance on November 23, proclaiming their own coalition government based in Huambo with Holden Roberto and Jonas Savimbi as co-presidents and José Ndelé and Johnny Pinnock Eduardo as co-Prime Ministers.
In November 1975, on the eve of Angola's independence, Cuba launched a large-scale military intervention in support of the leftist People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) against United States-backed interventions by South Africa and Zaire in support of two right-wing independence movements competing for power in the country, the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). By the end of 1975 the Cuban military in Angola numbered more than 25,000 troops. Following the withdrawal of Zaire and South Africa, Cuban forces remained in Angola to support the MPLA government against UNITA in the continuing Angolan Civil War.
Angola-Cuba diplomatic relations refers to the historical and current bilateral relationship between Angola and Cuba. During Angola's civil war, Cuban forces fought alongside the Marxist–Leninist People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) government; against the Western-backed National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) guerrillas who were aided by the South-African army. The present day outcome of the war resulted in the MPLA changing from a Marxist–Leninist party to a multi-party democratic system based on Neoliberal principles. From an economic stand point, Cuba has lost its preferred status among Angolans and South Africa has become the biggest single investor and trading partner with Angola.
In the Angola–Cuba Declaration of 1984, signed 19 March 1984 in Havana by president José Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola and Fidel Castro, premier of Cuba, the two countries agreed to the withdrawal of Cuban forces from Angola after the withdrawal of South African troops from Angola and Namibia, and after UN-Security Council resolution 435 on Namibian independence was strictly applied.
The Battle of Quifangondo occurred on 10 November 1975, the day before the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) declared Angola's independence from Portugal. It can be considered the first battle in the Angolan Civil War (1975–2002).
Parliamentary elections were held in Angola on 9 December 1986. They had been scheduled for 1983, but were postponed due to the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola's (UNITA) military gains in the civil war. The elections were the second elections conducted in the nation after in got independence from Portugal in 1975 and after the 1980 elections. During the period of 1975 to 1980, a civil war was fought between three parties, namely, People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) and the disturbance continued to the 90s.
Parliamentary elections were held in Angola in 1980. Beginning on 23 August, voters elected electoral colleges, which in turn, elected 229 candidates to the National Assembly. The elections were the first democratic elections conducted in the nation after in got independence from Portugal in 1975. During the period of 1975 to 1980, a civil war was fought between three parties, namely, People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA).
Charles 'Charlie' Christodoulou was a British soldier in the Parachute Regiment who later served as a foreign mercenary during the Angolan War of Independence of the 1970s. Known as 'Shotgun Charlie' as he was seldom without one in his hands in Angola, he was involved in the murder of 167 civilians during that conflict.