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Equatorial Guinea: Fear of torture / prisoner of conscience

, Index number: AFR 24/026/1998

Marcelo Beta Echuaca, Bernardo Lola Sorizo, Juan Lola Sorizo, Justo Mete, Remigio Fernandez, Adamou Ousmane, Anselmo Ribado Rope, Silvia Eron, (f), Antonia Macoli (f), José Antonio Oliveira, Sabas Bolekia, Manuel Owono Obama and about ten others, mostly from the Bubi ethnic group, have been arrested since 24 November 1998, and are being held incommunicado in Malabo, the capital. Amnesty International fears for their safety, after reports that some or all have been tortured.

PUBLIC AI Index: AFR 24/26/98
UA 302/98 Fear of torture / Prisoner of conscience 30 November 1998
EQUATORIAL GUINEAMarcelo Beta Echuaca
Bernardo Lola Sorizo
Juan Lola Sorizo
Justo Mete
Remigio Fernandez
Adamou Ousmane
Anselmo Ribado Rope
Silvia Eron, (f)
Antonia Macoli (f) and her husband
José Antonio Oliveira
Sabas Bolekia
Manuel Owono Obama (opposition party member)
About ten others
At least 20 people, mostly from the Bubi ethnic group, including an opposition
party member, have been arrested since 24 November 1998, and are being held
incommunicado in Malabo, the capital. Amnesty International fears for their
safety, after reports that some or all have been tortured.
The Bubis are a minority on the mainland, but a majority on Bioko Island. A
number of military barracks on the island were attacked in January 1998, leaving
four soldiers and three civilians dead. The government blamed the attacks on
the Movimiento para la Autodeterminación de la Isla de Bioko (MAIB), Movement
for the self-determination of Bioko Island, a Bubi political party, and made
many arrests.
Rumours that Guillermo Salomón Echuaca (“Alex”), an alleged leader of the
attacks, had fled by boat to Nigeria led to his brother Marcelo Beta Echuaca
and other relatives being arrested and reportedly tortured. Other Bubis were
detained because they were suspected of hiding Guillermo Salomón Echuaca or
helping him to flee. Owners of cayucos (small boats) that had been used to
go to neighbouring Nigeria and Cameroon were also detained.
Manuel Owono Obama, member of the opposition party Convergencia para la
Democracia Social (CPDS), Convergence for Social Democracy, was arrested in
Malabo on 25 November. While he is not a member of the Bubi ethnic group, his
arrest may be connected with the apparent flight of Guillermo Salomón Echuaca.
It appears that he had been to Cameroon in a cayuco, reportedly to buy a saw.
He has been severely tortured since his arrest. Amnesty International considers
him a prisoner of conscience.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
In May 1998 more than 117 people accused of involvement in the Bioko Island
attacks were tried by a military court in Malabo. On 1 June 15 were sentenced
to death, four of them (including Guillermo Salomón Echuaca) in absentia. Some
70 others were imprisoned for between six and 26 years. Many defendants,
predominantly members of the Bubi ethnic group, appeared to have been detained
solely because of their ethnic origin. Many of them had been forced to make
statements under torture.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in Spanish or your own language:
- requesting assurances that the people mentioned above are not being tortured
or ill-treated and that they are being given access to their family, legal
council and medical care;
- calling for these prisoners to be released unless they are charged with a
recognisably criminal offence and given a prompt and fair trial;
- urging the authorities to provide all prisoners with enough food and water
and adequate medical treatment if necessary;
- reminding the Equatorial Guinea Government of its commitment to the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, in particular Article 5: "No one shall be subjected
to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" and calling
for an independent and impartial enquiry into reports of the torture of detainees
held in connection with the attacks on military barracks in January 1998.
APPEALS TO:
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
Presidente de la República
Gabinete del Presidente de la República
Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Telegrams: Presidente Obiang, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Telexes: 5405 GBNOM 5405 EG
Faxes: + 240 9 3313
Salutation: Excelencia / Your Excellency
Prime Minister Serafín Seriche Dougan
Primer Ministro
Gabinete del Primer Ministro
Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Telegrams: Primer Ministro Seriche Dougan, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Telexes: 5405 GBNOM 5405 EG
Salutation: Sr. Don / Dear Prime Minister
Secretary of State for Security, Colonel Manuel Nguema Mba
Secretario de Estado para la Seguridad Nacional
Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Telegrams: Colonel Manuel Nguema Mba, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Telexes: 5405 GBNOM 5405 EG
Salutation: Sr. Don / Dear Secretary of State
COPIES TO:
Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
Miguel Oyono Ndong Mifumu
Vice-Primer Ministro y Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores
Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores
Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
and to diplomatic representatives of Equatorial Guinea accredited to your
country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 11 January 1999.

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