E Guinea opposition figure tortured to death: party

An Equatorial Guinean opposition figure who had been jailed for "sedition" was tortured to death in prison earlier this week, his party, the Citizens for Innovation (CI), said.

Juan Obama Edu, a "political prisoner", died on Monday after being tortured, CI said in a statement received by AFP late on Tuesday.

Military authorities and the director of the Evinayong prison where Obama Edu was held refused to allow him to receive medical care, according to the party, which was dissolved in February with 21 of its members convicted of sedition.

The 21, which included Obama Edu and the party's only MP, were sentenced to more than 30 years in jail over scuffles at an election rally in Aconibe a week before legislative polls last November.

The CI statement alleged that Obama Edu was tortured by the Aconibe police commissioner.

In March, the CI said another of its activists, Santiago Ebee Ela, was tortured to death while in detention in mid-January.

CI lawyers lodged official allegations of torture against Security Minister Nicolas Obama Nchama and three police units on June 11.

Aconibe was Obama Edu's hometown - as well as that of CI leader Gabriel Nse Obiang.

The announcement of Obama Edu's death comes in the run-up to a "national dialogue and political interaction" announced for mid-July by the country's iron-fisted leader, Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

He has ruled the oil-rich country of 1.2 million since 1979 - a tenure that has been strongly criticised for corruption and human-rights abuses.

Obiang's proposal of a forum comes in the context of a failed coup last December - one of more than half a dozen attempts to unseat him over the years - that was followed by a crackdown on the opposition.

The last such "national dialogue" was held in 2014 and five opposition parties were legalised after that, including the now-banned CI. The main opposition party at the time, the Convergence for Social Democracy (CPDS), boycotted the talks.

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On Tuesday, five opposition parties said they were ready to participate in the event provided the talks "were held outside Equatorial Guinea (like in former colonial ruler Spain) or in Equatorial Guinea but with the backing, help, protection and security of the international community."

They also called for a general amnesty before the process. The group includes the Party for Progress of veteran politician Severo Moto Nsa, who has been living in Spain since 1982 after being sentenced to 62 years over a failed 2004 alleged coup.

The country currently has 17 officially recognised political parties.

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