Hackers have shut down about 20 Angolan government websites after 17 young activists were arrested for allegedly plotting a rebellion against President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ government.

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos

The websites were hacked by a Portuguese branch of Anonymous, an international hacking group. The group provided a list of the sites it had taken down on Facebook. At the time of reporting, many of the websites were still down.

The 17 youths arrested, including Angolan rapper Luaty Beirao, were sentenced to between two and eight-and-a-half years in prison.

Human rights groups have criticized the harsh sentences for the activists, who were arrested in June after discussing a book about non-violent resistance. The accused maintain that they are peaceful protestors merely calling on their president to step down.

Mr. dos Santos has ruled Angola since 1979.

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