Opposition member killed in police custody: 100+ remain illegally imprisoned

Opposition member killed in police custody: 100+ remain illegally imprisoned

EG Justice January 25, 2018
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A member of Ciudadanos por la Innovacion (CI) party died in police custody on January 14, 2018, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. Evidence has surfaced that shows he was tortured.

(Washington, DC, January 25, 2018) The government of Equatorial Guinea must promptly and thoroughly investigate the killing of a political activist and the ongoing illegal imprisonment and torture of dozens of other political activists in Malabo, Bata, Akonibe and Evinayong.

Santiago Ebee Ela, member of Ciudadanos por la Innovacion (CI) party, died in police custody on January 14, 2018, in the capital city of Malabo. Photos that have surfaced since his death show clear evidence of torture, despite President Obiang claiming in a video interview that Mr. Ebee Ela’s death was caused by a disease. Meanwhile, more than 100 members of the same opposition party continue to be illegally detained and denied basic due process rights at various prisons in the country, where many of them are subjected to torture, as confirmed by a lawyer who represents Mr. Jesús Mitogo Mitogo, an elected Parliamentarian who was supposed to be the sole opposition voice in Congress.

“The torture and assassination of Santiago Ebee and the ongoing illegal imprisonment of opposition activists highlight the Obiang regime’s predisposition to use wanton violence to squash dissent,” said Tutu Alicante, Executive Director of EG Justice “This violence and impunity cannot be tolerated, particularly stemming from a new member of the UN Security Council. The government must either unconditionally release all these political prisoners or immediately ensure that they have the assistance of legal counsel, and are granted speedy and fail trials.”

President Obiang’s attempts to downplay the brutal crackdown against opposition political activists, suggesting that only about 20 people were imprisoned, or that those detained must have had something to do with the confrontations that took place in Akonibe, only fuel the violence and impunity.

“The government of Equatorial Guinea must take immediate steps to stop all forms of torture in detention facilities and bring to justice those responsible for the beating to death of Mr. Mitogo Mitogo.”

Additional Information:

According to the sources consulted by EG Justice the Attorney General of Equatorial Guinea, David Nguema Obiang Eyenga, filed a suit against Ciudadanos por la Innovacion (CI) in late December 2017, following a violent clash between security forces and CI supporters in the mainland town of Akonib, jut days before the legislative elections. Afterwards, it seemed the opposition party and the government settled the matter, as both parties went back on the campaign train and CI participated in the elections.

However, starting on December 28, 2017 and for nearly two weeks security personnel surrounded CI’s headquarters in Malabo. Eventually, more than 46 opposition members including elected parliamentarian Jesus Mitogo Mitogo Oyono were detained in Malabo, while dozens more were detained in Akonibe and Bata.

Lawyer Fabian Nsue was precluded from meeting with and representing members of the CI party. In fact he was briefly detained in the central prison in Malabo and allowed to eventually return home after being warned against representing CI followers.

have been subject to continuous and systematic torture by police officers. Through family members of the detainees, EG Justice has learned that the prisoners are subjected to brutal torture; and that Mr. Ebee Ela was tortured to death.  Photographic evidence gathered by CI shows clear signs of inhumane and degrading treatment that amounts to torture.

Systematic torture and ill-treatment continue to be a common practice in prisons and detention facilities in Equatorial Guinean. EG Justice has documented numerous cases of detainees who reported being beaten and tortured while in custody, as highlighted in our latest human rights report.

Despite the prohibition of torture by Equatoguinean law, as stipulated in article 5 of the Law to Prevent Ill Treatment and Torture which provides criminal penalties against public officials who use violence to extract confessions, the Equatoguinean judiciary rarely, if ever, prosecutes state agents alleged to have committed torture or other ill treatment.

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