147 activists face death penalty in E Guinea: lawyer

2018-02-15 06:02
iStock

iStock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Malabo - Equatorial Guinea's public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty in the trial of 147 opposition activists accused of "rebellion," their lawyer said on Wednesday.

The activists, including senior officials of the main opposition party, the Citizens for Innovation (CI), were arrested following elections in November.

"The prosecutor is requesting the death penalty against all the opponents," said lawyer Fabian Nsue.

Earlier this month, the European Union condemned what it described as "a sharp decline" in human rights in Equatorial Guinea following the election and said trials should be fair and in line with international norms.

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who seized power in the oil-rich former Spanish colony in 1979, has repeatedly been accused of brutal repression as well as electoral fraud and corruption.

The defendants are being tried at the High Court in the president's home town of Mongomo on charges of "rebellion, attacks against authority, public disorder and serious injury and damage," according to Nsue.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news from around the continent by subscribing to our FREE newsletter, Hello Africa.

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook.

Diplomatic sources confirmed the trial was taking place but authorities did not respond to an AFP request for comment.

The CI said about 30 defendants could not stand up at the trial on Tuesday because they had been "tortured" while in detention at police headquarters in the capital Malabo, nicknamed "Guantanamo".

The prosecutor "wants to hide or to silence the atrocities and the brutality of the crimes of torture... we shall go to the international courts and the ICC (International Criminal Court) for crimes against humanity," said CI in a statement.

The CI warned that if nothing is done to help the 147 on trial then "all of them will die like Santiago Ebee Ela".

Ela, a 41-year-old activist, died last month in Malabo's police headquarters after being tortured, the party says.

Nguema has said his death was not due to ill-treatment and promised an investigation. The EU has also called for an inquiry.

The ruling Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea maintained its grip on power in last November's vote, which was widely criticised by the opposition as fraudulent.

The ruling party won 99 of the parliament's 100 seats, while CI won the remaining seat.

On January 3, Malabo announced that security forces had foiled an attempted coup on December 24, after the arrest of about 30 foreign armed men just inside Cameroon at the junction with Gabonese and Equatorial Guinean territory.

In the mid-1990s, Equatorial Guinea became one of sub-Saharan Africa's biggest oil producers. But little of the wealth has trickled down - about two-thirds of its 1.2 million people live below the poverty line.

In 2015, Nguema announced a referendum would be held on the death penalty but the vote has never taken place.

Read more on:    equatorial guinea  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.