Opposition Leader Detained and Beaten
Opposition Leader Detained and BeatenEG Justice December 15, 2016
Equatorial Guinea imprisons anyone that voices dissent against the regime; CPDS member, Joaquin Elo Ayeto, is the latest example of the lack of rule of law.
(Washington DC, December 14, 2016) – EG Justice strongly condemns the arbitrary arrest and continued illegal detention of Mr. Joaquin Elo Ayeto, an opposition party member and activist imprisoned since December 5, 2016.
On November 29, Joaquin Elo Ayeto a member of the Executive Commission of Convergence for Social Democracy (Convergencia Para la Democracia Social, CPDS) was unlawfully stopped and brutally beaten by two military officers who also seized his cellphone and wallet. The officers brutally beat Mr. Elo, because he had posted a picture of one of them on the Internet, after the officer refused to pay a road toll.
On December 1, 2016 Mr. Elo filed a formal claim against the officers for the aggression. Then, on December 5, EG Justice was informed by the Secretary General of CPDS that Mr. Elo Ayeto was detained without charges, when he visited the Court to check on the status of the complaint submitted. He was transferred to “Black beach” prison then, where he remains illegally detained. No charges have been pressed against him and he has not been brought before a judicial authority to rule on his detention despite the 72-time hour limit stipulated by the Criminal Procedures law.
“The unlawful detention of Joaquin Elo Ayeto underscores the basic fact that Equatorial Guinea is a prison camp for anyone that voices dissent against the regime. The government is the first one to ignore the Constitution and international human rights law.” said Tutu Alicante, Executive Director of EG Justice. “Human rights defenders and/or political activists know they can be harassed, tortured, and even killed, with absolute impunity for the perpetrators.
Despite countless meetings between CPDS’ Secretary General and the Minister of Interior, Mr. Clemente Engonga, no investigations have been undertaken into the brutal beating or illegal imprisonment of Mr. Elo.
EG Justice has continuously emphasized the lack of rule of law in the country. The government commonly carries out arbitrary arrests and denies detainees due process, holding them indefinitely without telling them the charges against them. Basic fair trial standards are disregarded.
EG Justice calls on the government of Equatorial Guinea to release Joaquin Elo, immediate and unconditionally. It is time the government of President Obiang end all harassment against dissidents and ensure that the judiciary guarantees due process to people detained, as mandated by the Equatoguinean Constitution.