STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF MAMADOU BA
The School of Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia stands in solidarity and support of Graduate Student Mamadou Ba who is being prosecuted for his work as a leader and spokesperson for the Portuguese association SOS Racismo. Mamadou Ba is an active voice in the public debate on the origins and realities of racism and is part of a generation of black activists who discuss the country’s colonial responsibility with its long-lasting effects. Mamadou’s acceptance as a graduate student in our prestigious University is a recognition of his important contributions as an intellectual and anti-racist activist to the understanding of contemporary racism and to a trajectory in human rights work.
Mamadou returned to Portugal on November 23 to face a defamation and injury case, filed by the neo- Nazi Mário Machado. The case commenced in 2020 when Machado accused Mamadou Ba of calling him the “murderer” of Alcindo Monteiro. Alcindo Monteiro was a young black Portuguese citizen, born in Cape Verde, murdered in 1995 by a group of neo-Nazi skinheads. Mário Machado was one of the group members that killed Alcindo Monteiro. In 1997 Machado was sentenced to imprisonment for a period of four years and three months for his involvement in the death of Alcindo Monteiro. If convicted for these offences of defamation, Mamadou may be sentenced to imprisonment for a period of three to six months or receive a fine.
We are deeply concerned for the safety of Mamadou, who has been subjected to death threats from far-right organizations for at least the past decade, and the impact this is having on him, his academic performance and family. We are also concerned with the move to take Mamadou to court for alleged defamation and injury of Mario Machado in what appears as a precedent case targeting human rights work and commitment to make public any violation of rights.
The UBC School of Creative Writing joins other individuals and global organizations, such as the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), in calling upon the Government of Portugal to guarantee the protection of Mamadou Ba. We call upon the Government of Portugal to reject this political trial which constitutes an abuse of the legal process that is intended to silence the work of anti-racism and human rights activists such as Mamadou Ba.
professor and director