An Angolan court on Friday sentenced a policeman to 16 years in jail for gunning down a street vendor who refused to be evicted.
Juliana Kafriq, 38, was shot dead in March last year after she resisted a police raid on an informal market in the capital Luanda.
The mother-of-three’s killer, police officer Goncalo Sakala Ganga, was found guilty by Luanda’s provincial court and handed a hefty prison term.
Security officials are rarely prosecuted in Angola, where the justice system is accused of being sluggish and mired in corruption.
“The defendant is sentenced to 16 years in prison for voluntary homicide and fined five million kwanza (around $10,000),” judge Nelson Cabangange announced on Friday.
Ganga will also have to pay 50,000 kwanzas ($100) as compensation to the victim’s family, Cabangange added.
The 36-year-old police officer claimed he was shooting in the air and did not intend to “kill someone”.
Defence lawyer Gerson Calei said the sentence was too harsh and that he would appeal the verdict.
“(Ganga) was on duty and his life was at risk,” Calei told AFP. “He did not think he would kill someone so it was involuntary homicide.”
Most of Luanda’s vendors do not have licences and are regularly evicted by the police. But bloodshed is rare and officers do not usually resort to firearms.
Prosecutor Monica Bonita welcomed the judge’s decision and said there was “no doubt” the act was “premeditated”.
Witnesses said Kafriq was shot through the neck behind a bakery in the neighbourhood of Rocha Pinto, where she had been selling goods for over a decade.
“I apologise to the family… to all salespeople and to all Angolans,” said Ganga in a court appearance last week, extending his condolences to the family.