TikTok Influencer Sentenced to 2 Years in Jail for Insulting the President in Online Video

By: Olawale Ogunjimi | Last updated: Nov 20, 2023

Earlier this month, a TikTok influencer was sentenced to a two-year jail sentence due to her comments which were perceived as disrespectful toward her country’s president. 

Initially, she received a six-month sentence. However, following an appeal, it was extended to two years. 

Who is Nath Nahara?

Ana da Silva Miguel is popularly known as Nath Nahara across her social media accounts. With an excess of 230,000 followers on TikTok alone, Miguel has significant influence in Angola, her native country. 

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An Image of Neth Nahara with Text Showing Her Name

Source: Ladilson Manuel/YouTube

So, when her defamatory video hit social media, it easily found its way to the party on the receiving end of the slur. 

We Deserve Better in Angola!

Miguel expressed her displeasure with Angola’s ruling class because of the economic landscape in her motherland. 

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A Picture of Miguel Holding Her Baby In Her Arms

Source: Angola News/Facebook

In the video, which emerged as the centerpiece of Miguel’s litigation, the influencer blamed the president of Angola, João Lourenço, for the country’s deplorable state. 

Calling Out Her President and Recanting

Miguel seems to be well-traveled, at least based on her social media content. So it’s reasonable to believe she’s noticed a stark difference in the social amenities in Angola and the ones in other developed countries she’s visited. 

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A Picture of President Lourenço

Source: Barande Jeremy/Wikimedia Commons

Frustrated at the state of things, Miguel accused President Lourenço of being an incapable leader and massaging the unwholesome socioeconomic state of Angola. However, since getting legally indicted for such statements, Miguel has apologized. 

An Initial Lenient Sentence

At the initial trial, Miguel explained the circumstances surrounding her outburst. She claimed to have been under the influence of alcohol and pleaded for leniency. 

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An Image of An Empty Courtroom

Source: Eyewitness News/X

The first trial ended with Miguel getting sentenced to six months in jail and a fine of $119.19. However, the prosecuting counsel would not rest easy and proceeded to appeal the judgment. 

Rescinded Judgment and a Harsher Sentence

The case was heard again by an appeal judge, and Miguel’s prison term was increased from six months to two years. Likewise, her non-pecuniary fine of $119.19 was increased to $1,191.90.

An Image of A Gavel

Source: PxHere

In 2021, the legislative arm of the Angolan government passed a law that requires anyone who publicly insults the country’s president to serve a jail sentence of between six months and three years. 

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No Cause for Alarm After Initial Verdict

When interviewed after the first trial, Miguel’s lawyer, Francisco Muteka, thought it professionally wise to refrain from an appeal. The lawyer believed his client would be released months short of her six-month sentence on the basis of good behavior. 

A Man Exchanging a Handshake With a Woman

Source: Muteka & Advogados/Facebook

However, based on the severity of the second ruling Muteka decided they would definitely appeal to the judge for leniency on his client. 

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Setting a New Precedent

Miguel’s case set a precedent for someone getting jailed because of content they posted to social media. 

A Montage Promoting Free Speech in Africa

Source: UNESCO

Civil and political rights organizations have commented that Angola is far from being a free nation—they believe that stifling the right of the citizens to free speech is a form of modern slavery. 

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Freedom of Speech and Democracy

Several governments around the world have initiated – and some have successfully passed – laws limiting the use of social media. 

Protests Revolting Against the Government

Source: Montecruz Foto/Nairaland

Likewise, some governments designate agencies to filter random posts on social media and the Internet and indict any anti-government content found within their jurisdiction. Many of these countries claim to be democratic. 

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A Government Without an Inner Voice

Miguel has fallen victim to the Angolan government’s crackdown on naysayers. However, the popular opinion in the country is that Miguel’s comments are not very far off the mark.

An Image of Angola Parliament

Source: CupParliaments/X

President Lourenço is reported to have gotten into power by flying the flag of the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola party (MPLA), which has ruled Angola for 48 years since independence.

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An Unappealable Verdict

Contrary to Francisco Muteka’s assertions, it may be difficult to appeal Miguel’s case. According to legal analysts in Angola, it is impossible to appeal a sentence that is less than three years old. 

An Empty Courtroom

Source: Jacklee/Wikimedia Commons

Thus, the influencer might have to serve the two-year jail sentence, as stated by the Angolan Appeal Court. 

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Angola’s History of Terrorizing Dissenters

Angola is one of the largest exporters of crude oil in the world. However, a large percentage of its citizens live below the poverty line. 

Photo of a Bicycle Next to an Oil Rig

Source: Jbdodane/Flickr

Only several months ago, Human Rights Watch fingered the Angolan government in the unlawful murder of 15 individuals. Findings have revealed that these 15 people were voices of reason against the unwholesome policies of the government. 

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