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UA 52/92 - Equatorial Guinea: arbitrary arrest, fear of torture: Placido Miko Abogo, Celestino Bacale Obiang, Jose Antonio Dorronsoro, Arsenio Molonga, Jose Luis Nvumba

, Index number: AFR 24/002/1992

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR/24/02/92
Distr: UA/SC
UA 52/92 Arbitrary arrest, fear of torture
13 February 1992
EQUATORIAL GUINEA:
Plácido Mikó ABOGO
Celestino Bacale OBIANG
José Antonio DORRONSORO
Arsenio MOLONGA
José Luis NVUMBA
The five named above, all members of the Central Committee of an opposition political party,
the Convergencia para la Democracia Social (CPDS), Convergence for Social Democracy, were
arrested separately on 9 February 1992 in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea. They
were arrested on account of their non-violent political activities despite the promulgation
in late 1991 of laws introducing a multi-party political system.
Placido Mikó Abogo, a founder of the CPDS, was reportedly arrested in the afternoon of
9 February 1992 by eight police officers. Eyewitnesses said he was severely beaten in the
street where he was arrested. Celestino Bacale Obiang was reportedly arrested on the same
day. According to reports he was returning from the airport where he had left a bundle
of pamphlets and correspondence for a departing passenger to take to Spain. The parcel
was intercepted and Celestino Bacale Obiang was pursued and arrested in the vicinity of
Malabo's Spanish Embassy, where he may have been intending to seek refuge. José Antonio
Dorronsoro was reportedly arrested at his home at 9 o'clock that night.
These three people are said to be held at a barracks in Malabo used by Moroccan soldiers
seconded to Equatorial Guinea under a bilateral agreement with the Kingdom of Morocco as
a bodyguard for President Obiang Nguema. In the past these Moroccan soldiers have routinely
been given authority over Equatorial Guinean political prisoners.
Amnesty International does not yet know the circumstances of the arrests of Arsenio Molongua
or José Luis Nvumba who are reportedly still held at a police station in Malabo. Several
other people were also reported to have been arrested but their names are not yet known
to Amnesty International.
Amnesty International is concerned that the five people mentioned above and others arrested
at about the same time may be imprisoned solely on account of their membership of an opposition
political party. The organization is also concerned by reports that Plácido Mikó Abogo
was severely beaten at the time of his arrest and at the possibility that all these prisoners
may be tortured or ill-treated while in custody; political prisoners have been routinely
subjected to torture in the past.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
Until late 1991 Equatorial Guinea was officially a one party state: the only permitted
political party was the Partido Democrático de Guinea Ecuatorial (PDGE), Democratic Party
of Equatorial Guinea, led by President Obiang Nguema. However, following pressure from
within as well as outside the country, a revised Constitution introducing a multi-party
political system and providing for freedom of expression and association was promulgated
on 17 November 1991. A law permitting political parties was passed in late December 1991.
The CPDS was formed in Equatorial Guinea in early 1991, mainly by graduate students
returning from Spain, but has not been operating in the the country openly as neither the
CPDS nor any other political party has been able to meet the stringent requirements for
official recognition. These requirements include paying a fee equivalent to approximately
US$ 165,000, two thousand times the average yearly salary.
Throughout 1990 and 1991, scores of people were arrested in Equatorial Guinea on suspicion
of opposing government policies or supporting or being in contact with opposition parties
abroad. Many apparently remain in prison or restricted to their homes despite an amnesty
decree promulgated on 8 January 1992 for all political offences commited before 2 December
1991. The decree also invited exiles to return to Equatorial Guinea but Amnesty International
has received reports that some of those who returned were arrested on arrival.
Equatorial Guinea became a party to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights in
1986 and to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1987.
page 2 of UA 52/92
RECOMMENDED ACTIONS: Telegrams/telexes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing concern that those named above are reported to have been arrested on 9 February
1992, apparently solely for exercising their right to freely express their political views
as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
and Article 13(b) of Equatorial Guinea's new Constitution;
- expressing concern at reports that Plácido Mikó Abogo was severely beaten at the time
of his arrest; expressing concern also that, as no steps have been taken to end the practice
of torture in Equatorial Guinea, he and the other detainees are at risk of being further
tortured or ill-treated in custody;
- urging that, unless they are to be promptly charged with a recognizably criminal offence
and tried in accordance with international standards of fairness, these five people and
any others detained on account of their political activities should be released immediately.
APPEALS TO:
1) President:
Su Excelencia
Coronel General Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Presidente de la República
Gabinete del Presidente de la República
Malabo, República de Guinea Ecuatorial
Telegrams: Presidente Obiang Nguema Malabo, República de Guinea Ecuatorial
Salutation: Su Excelencia / Your Excellency
2) Minister of Justice and Religion:
Su Excelencia
Mariano Nsué Nguema
Ministro de Justicia y Culto
Ministerio de Justicia y Culto
Malabo, República de Guinea Ecuatorial
Telegrams: Ministro de Justicia Nsué Nguema
Malabo, República de Guinea Ecuatorial
Telexes: 5405 GBNOM 5405 EG
Salutation: Su Excelencia / Your Excellency
3) Minister of Foreign Affairs:
Su Excelencia
Benjamín Mba Ekua Mikó
Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores
Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores
Malabo, República de Guinea Ecuatorial
Telegrams: Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores Mba Ekua
Malabo, República de Guinea Ecuatorial
Telexes: 5405 GBNOM 5405 EG
and to diplomatic representatives of Equatorial Guinea in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section,
if sending appeals after 25 March 1992.

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