E Guinea asks ICJ to have case against leader's son dropped

2016-10-01 11:07
Teodorin Obiang (File: AFP)

Teodorin Obiang (File: AFP)

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The Hague - Equatorial Guinea has asked the UN's top court to tell France to suspend its legal proceedings against the son of the central African nation's president, the International Court of Justice said in a statement on Friday.

French prosecutors accuse Equatorial Guinea's vice president Teodorin Obiang - the son of the country's leader - of looting state coffers to fund his lavish tastes.

Among his alleged purchases are the famous white glove of pop star Michael Jackson's, private jets and sprawling properties.

In 2012 French prosecutors ordered the seizure of the Obiang family's six-storey mansion on Avenue Foch - one of the poshest addresses in Paris - as well as several luxury cars and vintage wines.

In its request to The Hague-based ICJ on Thursday, Equatorial Guinea recalled a case it filed before the court in June, claiming that France had breached the vice-president's immunity.

Longest-serving leader 

Thursday's request comes after Obiang was ordered to appear before a French criminal court on October 24.

"Equatorial Guinea consequently notes the urgency of its request," the ICJ statement said.

Malabo wants the ICJ to order Paris to put the criminal case on hold and for the Avenue Foch property "be treated as premises of Equatorial Guinea's diplomatic mission in France".

It also wants the ICJ to tell France to "refrain from taking any other measure that might cause prejudice to the rights claimed by Equatorial Guinea... or compromise the implementation of any decision which the Court (ICJ) might render".

Obiang's father, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has ruled the country with an iron fist since 1979, is Africa's longest-serving leader, and extended his 36-year rule in April when he was re-elected with 93.7% of the vote.

An ICJ official, who declined to be named, said he could not give a time-frame for a ruling on Equatorial Guinea's request, but said "as it is urgent, it will be as soon as possible."

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