PUBLIC AI Index: AFR 24/09/99
UA 280/99 Prison Conditions / Health concern 26 October 1999
EQUATORIAL GUINEAEmilio Ribas Esada
Milagrosa Cheba (f)
Alejandro Mbe Bita Rope
And approximately 80 others prisoners convicted in May 1998
Amnesty International is very concerned about the health of scores of Bubi
prisoners, including the people named above, being held in appalling conditions
in Malabo prison. Since their conviction in June 1998 they have been held in
small, filthy cells. Conditions are compounded by the extremely hot, humid
climate. Most prisoners are being denied medical treatment. Eleven have been
held in incommunicado detention in Malabo prison since May 1998.
On 20 October 1999, a detainee in the prison, Digno Sepa Tobachi, “Elako”,
died as a result of torture and lack of medical care.
Other Bubi prisoners convicted in the May 1998 trial (see background
information) are seriously ill. Emilio Ribas Esada is suffering from inflamation
of the testicles and Gregorio Bomuagasi, whose jawbone was broken by police
at the time of his arrest in January 1998, has received no treatment since
then. Milagrosa Cheba, the only woman, has fallen sick on several occasions
and been sent to hospital. She is now back in prison even though she is still
In May 1998 more than 110 people accused of involvement in attacks on military
barracks were tried by a military court. The court sentenced 15 people to death
(including four in absentia), and some 70 people to prison terms ranging from
six to 26 years. Many defendants, predominantly members of the Bubi ethnic
group, appear to have been detained solely because of their ethnic origin.
Many had been forced to make statements under torture.
An Amnesty International delegation attending the trial noticed that a number
of defendants showed signs of torture. Since sentences were passed, several
prisoners have fallen ill as a result of the harsh prison conditions. Most
have been denied medical care. One prisoner, Martin Puye, aged 58, a leader
of the Movimiento para la Auto-determinación de la Isla de Bioko (MAIB), Movement
for the Self-determination of Bioko Island, died in hospital in July 1998,
reportedly as a result of ill-treatment and lack of adequate medical care.
Other prisoners are thought to have been denied hospital treatment.
Conditions in the prison are harsh, and other detainees and prisoners are also
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in Spanish or your own language:
- expressing concern about the prison conditions in which those sentenced in
the May 1998 trial are being held;
- urging the authorities to provide all prisoners with enough food and water
and adequate medical treatment, especially in the cases mentioned above;
- calling for the practice of incommunicado detention to be ended immediately;