The Luanda Trial was a trial held in Luanda, Angola in June and July 1976 by the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), to prosecute thirteen foreign mercenaries who had served its defeated rival, the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA).
The following sentences were passed on June 28, 1976:
16 years' imprisonment:
- John Nammock (United Kingdom)
- 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)
- Costas Georgiou (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 sent a cable to Angolan President Agostinho Neto 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 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
- "1976: Death sentence for mercenaries" (HTML). BBC News. 1976-06-28. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
- BBC article on the Luanda Trial BBC On this day 11 June.
- Interview with Dave Tomkins, former guerrilla
- Time magazine account of the trials
- Cuban documentary footage Time 3:28 - 5:56 - Captured and killed FNLA mercenaries possibly from the 14 Feb 76 ambushes of two FNLA patrols in Cuimba. In video clip at time 3:36 - 3:53 possibly wounded mercenaries Gustavo Grillo and John Nammock sitting in the back of a FAPLA truck. Time 4:33 and 4:53 possibly wounded mercenary Gary Acker. At 5:03 mercenary sitting on the ground wearing the beret is possibly Daniel Gearhart.
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