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Equatorial Guinea Coup Trial Suspended - 2004-08-31


The trial 18 men accused of attempting to overthrow the president of Equatorial Guinea earlier this year has been suspended indefinitely at the request of the prosecution.

The prosecution asked for the suspension in order to investigate new revelations involving the potential funding of the alleged coup plot by British financiers, including Mark Thatcher, who was arrested last week in South Africa.

Mr. Thatcher, the son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, is under house arrest in South Africa pending trial in November. He is being charged with helping to fund the coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea.

The defense objected, arguing that a suspension of the trial would jeopardize the defendants' right to a fair and speedy trial.

An American diplomat at the trial says the defendants were not present when the court rendered its decision, but that all of the international observers were surprised by the action.

The defense asked the court to improve conditions for the foreign defendants and release the local ones from jail until the trial resumes.

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