Amnesty International Report 2004 - Equatorial Guinea
|Publication Date||26 May 2004|
|Cite as||Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2004 - Equatorial Guinea , 26 May 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/40b5a1f5c.html [accessed 9 December 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Covering events from January - December 2003
Despite a partial amnesty in August, more than 30 prisoners convicted in 2002 on the basis of confessions extracted under torture remained in harsh conditions that amounted to torture. At least two of them needed hospital care because of illtreatment and medical neglect. Several members of the opposition were detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression or for membership of political opposition groups.
In January President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, in power since 1979, was sworn in for another term of seven years following an election in which he won 97 per cent of the votes. The European Parliament criticized the flaws in the electoral process, which it described as "neither free nor fair".
Shortly after the election, the President said that he favoured a broad-based national unity government. However, he refused to meet a pre-condition of the main opposition party, the Convergencia para la Democracia Social (CPDS), Convergence for Social Democracy, that their Secretary General, Plácido Micó, be released from prison.
Update: 2002 FDR trial
Plácido Micó was not released until August when he and 17 other prisoners sentenced at the same trial in 2002 were granted a conditional pardon. A total of 67 people had been convicted of involvement in an alleged coup plot by the Fuerza Demócrata Republicana (FDR), Republican Democratic Force, an unauthorized opposition party, and sentenced to long prison terms. Many appeared to be prisoners of conscience, arrested solely because of their links with the FDR. Their trial was unfair and their convictions based on statements made under torture.
Arrests of prisoners of conscience
Several people suspected of being political opponents were arrested and detained without charge or trial.
- In January, Simón María Nsue Mokuy, local representative of Fuerzas Republicanas de Reflexión y Acción en Guinea Ecuatorial (FRRAGE), Republican Forces for Reflection and Action on Equatorial Guinea, a grouping of political exiles in France and Spain, was arrested. He was detained incommunicado without charge or trial for six weeks solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression. He had distributed information about a meeting to be held in Paris by the FRRAGE group.
- In October, Bienvenido Samba Momesori, a Protestant pastor, was arrested by plainclothes police officers in the capital, Malabo, while celebrating mass at his church. His whereabouts were unknown for two weeks, until his daughter was allowed to visit him in the main Malabo prison, known as "Black Beach". One week later he was transferred. After many efforts, his relatives learned that he was held at Evinayong prison, in the continental part of the country, 300km from Malabo.
- In November, Rodrigo Angue Nguema, a journalist working for the French news agency, Agence France Presse, was detained without charge or trial for eight days and questioned about the sources of an article he had written.
Harsh prison conditions
Conditions remained harsh for prisoners sentenced in connection with the alleged FDR plot, who were held in the "Black Beach" prison. At the beginning of 2003, they remained crammed together in small, dangerously overcrowded cells. In March, two of the prisoners were transferred to hospital. One of them, Lorenzo Asu Nguema, had a broken rib as a result of being beaten. In April the conditions improved a little and the prisoners were allowed to receive family visits and reading material. However, the authorities continued to pressure them to sign "confessions" admitting guilt, asking the President for forgiveness and promising to join his ruling party.
- In June FDR leader Felipe Ondó Obiang was transferred to Evinayong prison, apparently because he refused to ask for a presidential pardon. He was held in conditions that amounted to torture, and his physical and mental health deteriorated. He was kept chained to the wall in his cell by his left leg, which became swollen and painful, and was held for several months in solitary confinement.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In April the UN Commission on Human Rights considered the report of a visit to Equatorial Guinea in December 2002 by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. His report stressed the "legal and administrative obstacles to the registration of non-governmental organizations, in particular in the field of human rights" in Equatorial Guinea. The government did not respond to his recommendations to allow the establishment of independent human rights organizations. In 2002 the Commission had ended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Equatorial Guinea, who monitored human rights in the country for over 20 years.