Last Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2017, 09:42 GMT

Amnesty International Report 2015/16 - Equatorial Guinea

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 24 February 2016
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2015/16 - Equatorial Guinea, 24 February 2016, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/56d05b5b15.html [accessed 14 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis 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.

Republic of Equatorial Guinea
Head of state and government: Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo

Children were among hundreds of people arbitrarily arrested, detained and beaten following disturbances at the African Cup of Nations football tournament. The rights to freedom of expression and assembly were suppressed and police used excessive force to disperse peaceful demonstrations. Political opponents were banished and confined to their home villages.

BACKGROUND

In January and February, Equatorial Guinea hosted the African Cup of Nations football tournament. As opposition to the tournament mounted, President Obiang threatened severe measures against those who disrupted or called for a boycott of the games.

In May, President Obiang dissolved the judiciary. For nearly a month there was no functioning judiciary in the country.

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

Criticism of the government was not allowed. In mid-January several people including political activist Celestino Okenve were arbitrarily arrested and detained for up to two weeks for criticizing the hosting of the African Cup of Nations and calling for a boycott of the games. All were later released uncharged.[1]

On 19 February, Luis Nzo Ondo, a member of the political party Republican Democratic Force (FDR), was arbitrarily arrested and banished to his village for campaigning against the unlawful arrest and banishment of FDR leader Guillermo Nguema Ela.[2] They both remained confined to their respective villages at the end of the year.

CHILDREN'S RIGHTS

On 5 February, dozens of children were among 300 youths arbitrarily arrested and beaten following disturbances during the African Cup of Nations semi-finals in the capital, Malabo. At least 12 of those arrested were under 16, the age of criminal responsibility in Equatorial Guinea, including four children between nine and 11 years of age. The majority were arrested in their homes at night, or in streets far from the football stadium. They were taken to Malabo Central Police Station, where the young detainees reported having received floggings of 20 to 30 lashes each. They were held in appalling conditions in overcrowded and poorly ventilated cells also occupied by adult criminal suspects. Some detainees were released after their families paid bribes to the police. However, on 11 February some 150 detainees appeared before the investigating judge, who ordered the release of those aged nine to 11, but confirmed the detention of the rest and ordered their transfer to Black Beach prison in Malabo. At the prison, child and adult detainees and convicted prisoners were held together. On 13 February, the detainees again appeared in court and all were released without charge.

FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY

On 25 and 26 March, police in Bata and Malabo used excessive force and tear gas to disperse peaceful demonstrations by university students protesting over the system for granting scholarships. Scores of students were arrested and beaten in both cities. Those arrested in Bata were released without charge the next day. In Malabo, police carried out arbitrary arrests and beatings of students and others suspected of being students, in the streets and in their homes. A 13-year-old boy was arrested in the street as he used his mobile phone to film police arresting and beating students and forcibly entering their homes. At least 50 students were held for two weeks before being released without charge. However, the 13-year-old boy and five other young people remained in police custody for another week before being released without charge. The police claimed that as they were not students they must have been "troublemakers".


[1] Equatorial Guinea: African Cup of Nations peaceful protesters must be released (News story, 29 January), Urgent Action: Three detainees should be released (AFR 24/0001/2015), Equatorial Guinea: Three detainees released (AFR 24/0002/2015)

[2] Equatorial Guinea: Release human rights defender and opposition leader (Press release, 20 March 2015)

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