Popular Angolan TikToker jailed two years for insulting President João Lourenço

Ana da Silva Miguel, a prominent social media influencer in Angola known as Neth Nahara, has recently had her prison sentence extended to two years for what was deemed as “insulting” President João Lourenço on the popular platform TikTok.

Initially sentenced to six months in August, an appellate court reevaluated the punishment and concluded that the previous sentence was too lenient, hence the increased term.

The accusations against the President were made on her TikTok account, where she criticized him for what she perceived as “anarchy and disorganization,” attributing various societal issues such as inadequate schools, housing, and employment to his administration.

President Lourenço, who secured a second term last August, continues the MPLA party’s extensive rule in Angola, which has been in power since the country gained independence in 1975. The MPLA has faced allegations of governing in a repressive manner.

The appeals court, situated in the capital, Luanda, cited Ms. Miguel’s offensive remarks against the President and her significant sway over public opinion as justifications for the harsher sentence.

Despite her pleas for leniency, emphasizing her status as a first-time offender and a mother of young children who regretted her comments, the court disregarded her request. Additionally, she was ordered to pay President Lourenço $1,200 (£1,000) for the alleged “damage” to his reputation.

With an extensive following on TikTok, boasting over 230,000 followers and garnering thousands of views on her videos, Ms. Miguel stands as the first individual in Angola to be convicted for content posted on TikTok, according to her legal representative.

Notably, this ruling is final, as appeals to the Supreme Court are only permissible for sentences exceeding three years.