국제앰네스티는 쿠데타 시도에 관여한 혐의로 유죄를 선고 받은 7명의 나이지리아인들에 대해 공정한 재심을 진행하도록 적도기니 법원에 요청했다.
4월 5일, 수도 말라보 법원은 작년 대통령궁에 공격을 가하고 테오도로 오비앙 응게마 음바소고(Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo) 대통령의 암살을 기도했다는 혐의로 6명의 남성과 1명의 여성에게 각각 12년 형을 선고했다.
보도에 의하면, 이들 나이지리아인들은 결백을 주장하면서 자신들은 바다에서 길을 잃고 적도기니 영해에 떠내려왔다가 해군에 의해 체포된 어부와 무역상들이라고 말했다고 한다. 함께 있었던 나이지리아 여성은 구금 중 숨졌다.
국제앰네스티 타완다 혼도라(Tawanda Hondora) 아프리카 부국장은 “적도기니 당국은 이들이 공정한 재판을 받을 수 있도록 조치를 취해야 한다”며 “이들은 적절한 변호 접근권이 거부됐으며 구금 중 고문을 당했고 여성 1명의 사망에 대한 조사가 이루어지지 않았다”고 전했다.
Equatorial Guinea urged to retry Nigerian coup suspects
21 May 2010
Amnesty International has called for the fair retrial of seven Nigerian nationals, convicted by a court in Equatorial Guinea for their alleged involvement in an attempted coup.
On 5 April, a court in the capital, Malabo, sentenced the six men and one woman to 12 years’ imprisonment each, on the charges of attempting to assassinate President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo during an alleged attack on the presidential palace last year.
According to reports, the accused Nigerians pleaded “not guilty” and claimed to be fishermen and traders who had been lost at sea and had drifted into Equatorial Guinea waters where they were arrested by the navy. A Nigerian woman also detained at sea has since died in custody.
“The Equatorial Guinean authorities must take action to make sure these men receive a fair retrial,” said Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Africa Director at Amnesty International.
“They were denied access to proper legal representation and their complaints that they had been tortured in custody have not been investigated. Neither has the death in custody of one other Nigerian woman.”
Amnesty International has also called for the release of two members of the Equatorial Guinea opposition party People’s Union (Unión Popular – UP), who are still in prison six weeks after they were acquitted of all charges relating to the attack.
According to media reports, gunmen in speedboats launched the attack on the presidential palace in Malabo in the early hours of 17 February 2009.
The government blamed ‘Mend’, a rebel movement in Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta region for the attack.
Later on the day of the attack, the Equatorial Guinean navy arrested the Nigerian men and women in a boat in Equatorial Guinea territorial waters.
They claimed to be fishermen and traders, who were lost at sea after their “cayuco” (canoe) had drifted in fog.
No weapons were found in the boat. Following their arrest the Nigerians and the two UP members were held incommunicado and without charge until mid-October 2009 in Black Beach prison in Malabo. All were reportedly tortured to extract “confessions” from them.
The seven Nigerians: Marck Etim Marck, Eyoh Okon Ikara, Eyon Kun Jhon, Effiong Matew, Okokon Iyanam (aka Mintay), Isangadighi and Ekaette Eyo Okon, a woman, were tried between 17 and 22 March 2010 by the Tribunal de Apelación de Malabo (Malabo Court of Appeal).
They were not allowed access to a lawyer until a few days before the trial started and were thus denied the right to present an effective defence.
No weapons or other evidence was presented in court to sustain the charges against the Nigerian nationals.
Nevertheless, the court dismissed their claims that they were fishermen and traders and convicted them on the basis of weather reports for 16 and 17 February 2009.
According to the reports, the weather was good and therefore, visibility was good so they could not have been lost in fog and strayed into Equatorial Guinean waters.
In court, the defendants and their lawyers complained about the acts of torture, including the death in custody of a Nigerian woman, but were stopped by the president of the court who, according to reports, dismissed the claims as irrelevant to the proceedings.
The authorities also failed to provide the Nigerian nationals with assistance to lodge an appeal against their conviction and sentence.
“The authorities must grant the Nigerian detainees access to lawyers, consular personnel and any medical treatment they may require,” said Tawanda Hondora
The three UP members, Santiago Asumu, Marcelino Nguema Esono and the party’s former president, Faustino Ondó Ebang were all charged with attempting to assassinate the president.
Faustino Ondó – a former prisoner of conscience – was tried in absentia. He currently lives in exile in Spain.
All three were acquitted of all charges on 5 April.
Eight other UP members had the charges against them dropped at the start of the trial.
Amnesty International said it is concerned that six weeks after their acquittal and despite a formal written request from their lawyer to the president of the Appeal Court demanding their release, Santiago Asumu and Marcelino Nguema Esono remain in prison.