A social media influencer in Angola had her prison term raised to two years for “insulting” the country’s president on TikTok.
Ana da Silva Miguel, also referred to as Neth Nahara, was first given a six-month prison term in August by a judge. The sentence was, however, increased to two years by a court of appeal after it was decided that the earlier sentence was too lenient.
According to local media, Ms. Miguel accused the president on her TikTok account of “anarchy and disorganisation” and blamed him for the lack of jobs, homes, and schools in the oil-rich southern African nation.
The appeals court in the nation’s capital, Luanda, ruled that Ms. Miguel, who has more than 230,000 followers on TikTok and whose videos attract thousands of views, had insulted the president and that her actions were “more objectionable” because of her power to sway public opinion.
She had requested forgiveness from the court on the grounds that she was a first-time offender, a mother with young children, and that she regretted her statements. However, the court rejected her request and further ordered her to pay President Lourenço $1,200 for the “damage” she had done to his reputation.
Judge Salomo Raimundo Kulanda referred to the president as “sovereign”, saying that the TikToker was aware of this.
This was the first time a person had been found guilty in Angola for anything they had put on TikTok, according to her lawyer, who spoke to the Portuguese news site Lusa.
The attorney also said that the decision was final. A sentence of less than three years was ineligible for appeal to the Supreme Court.
The state prosecutor had requested a heavier term, arguing that the first six-month sentence was too “benevolent” and that Ms. Miguel was likely to make more of these kinds of remarks on social media.
In a fiercely contested election that maintained the incumbent MPLA party’s decades-long dominance, President Lourenço was re-elected for a second term in August of last year. The party, which has held power since independence in 1975, has been accused of establishing a dictatorial regime.