The Luanda Trial
was a trial
In law, a trial is when parties to a dispute come together to present information in a tribunal, a formal setting with the authority to adjudicate claims or disputes. One form of tribunal is a court...
held in Luanda
Luanda, formerly named São Paulo da Assunção de Loanda, is the capital and largest city of Angola. Located on Angola's coast with the Atlantic Ocean, Luanda is both Angola's chief seaport and its administrative center. It has a population of at least 5 million...
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...
in June and July 1976 by the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola
The People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola - Labour Party is a political party that has ruled Angola since the country's independence from Portugal in 1975...
(MPLA), recently victorious in the Angolan War of Independence
The Angolan War of Independence began as an uprising against forced cotton cultivation, and became a multi-faction struggle for control of Portugal's Overseas Province of Angola with three nationalist movements and a separatist movement...
, to prosecute thirteen foreign mercenaries who had served its defeated rival, the National Liberation Front of Angola
The National Front for the Liberation of Angola was a militant organization that fought for Angolan independence from Portugal in the war of independence under the leadership of Holden Roberto. The FNLA became a political party in 1992....
The following sentences were passed on June 28, 1976:
16 years' imprisonment
Imprisonment is a legal term.The book Termes de la Ley contains the following definition:This passage was approved by Atkin and Duke LJJ in Meering v Grahame White Aviation Co....
- John Nammock (United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
- Gary Martin Acker, 21 (United States of America)
- Malcolm McIntyre (UK)
24 years' imprisonment:
- John Lawlor (UK)
- Colin Evans (UK)
- Cecil Martin "Satch" Fortuin (South Africa/UK)
30 years' imprisonment:
- Michael Douglas Wiseman (UK)
- Kevin John Marchant (UK)
- Gustavo Marcelo Grillo, 27 (Argentina/USA)
Execution by firing squad:
- Costas Georgiou
Costas Georgiou was a Greek Cypriot mercenary executed following the Luanda Trial for activities during the civil war phase of the Angolan War of Independence.-Early life:...
(aka "Colonel Tony Callan"), 25 (Cyprus/UK)
- Andrew Gordon McKenzie, 25 (UK)
- Derek John Barker, 35 (UK)
- Daniel Francis Gearhart, 34 (USA)
Some of the verdicts had been expected, especially regarding Georgiou. However, others were considered excessive, particularly over Gearhart, who had arrived in Angola only days before his arrest and never taken part in any activities against the MPLA government. British Prime Minister James Callaghan
Leonard James Callaghan, Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, KG, PC , was a British Labour politician, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1979 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1976 to 1980...
sent a cable to Angolan President Agostinho Neto
António Agostinho Neto served as the first President of Angola , leading the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola in the war for independence and the civil war...
requesting mercy for the men.
Nevertheless, the four condemned men were executed by MPLA military police on July 10, 1976. McKenzie, who had been seriously wounded in the leg and used a wheelchair, stood up to face the firing squad.
The two remaining Americans, Grillo and Acker, were released in 1982 in a prisoner exchange worked out by the United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...
. The British prisoners were released in 1984 after negotiation by the British Foreign Office.
- Cohen Jr., Sylvester Review The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 17, No. 2 (Jun., 1979), pp. 342-344
- Stockwell, John. In Search of Enemies: A CIA story
- Burchett, Wilfred and Roebuck, Derek. The Whores of War: Mercenaries Today
- Kennedy, Bruce. Soldiers of misfortune CNN Interactive