News / Africa

Rights Groups Slam Equatorial Guinea on 'Political Arrests'

Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, opening ceremony of African Nations Cup soccer tournament, Bata, Jan. 21, 2012.
Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, opening ceremony of African Nations Cup soccer tournament, Bata, Jan. 21, 2012.
Jennifer Lazuta
DAKAR—Human rights groups are calling on Equatorial Guinea to stop arresting opposition politicians, in what the groups describe as an effort to secure an advantage ahead of the 2013 legislative polls.
 
Human Rights Watch has reported that Equatorial Guinean authorities detained opposition party leader Daniel Dario Martinez Ayecaba as he tried to board a plane in the capital, Malabo, on December 4th. The New York-based organization said Dario is at least the fourth opposition member to be detained since November 2011.
 
Joseph Kraus, program and development manager for EG Justice, a Washington-based organization that works on human rights issues in Equatorial Guinea, said Dario, who was on his way to Madrid where he planned to attend a conference hosted by an opposition party, was arrested without a warrant.
 
“He was detained by security forces who took him to a local jail, which is locally known as Guantanamo, and he was questioned there for about five hours before he was then released," said Kraus. "So they took his passport and was instructed that he was not to leave Malabo, which is the capital city. He’s required to report back daily to the minister of security.”
 
In the three other known cases, HRW officials said charges were either never filed or the sentence was later pardoned following conviction. HRW said one of the men, a medical doctor, continues to appeal large fines and a five-year suspension of his medical license. One of the doctor's attorneys, the group said, had his legal license suspended for two years.
 
Kraus called the events “business as usual” in Equatorial Guinea under President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has been in power since 1979.
 
“His regime has a long record of using oppressive tactics to keeping the population in check," said Kraus. "This is how they live their daily lives — under fear of being harassed by the government.”
 
A government spokesman contacted by VOA declined to comment on Dario’s case and other recent allegations. In the past, however, the government has rejected allegations of human rights abuses.
 
“Our president has always maintained his firm support to defend human rights in our country," said one statement issued to media outlets. “President Obiang has been committed and works continuously to create initiatives that are facilitating the radical development of our country and the human rights of its population.”
 
Kraus said the statements indicating an intention to improve the country's human rights situation, which have been issued with increasing frequency in recent years, have yet to be transformed into action.
 
“They say this in public speeches and they make overtures to diplomats, but when it comes down to actually carrying out these commitments through action, we see that they repeatedly violate the civil liberties of citizens, the human rights of citizenry," he said.
 
Rights advocates have said the recent arrests of opposition members do not bode well for legislative elections planned for next year.
 
The Committee to Protect Journalists ranks Equatorial Guinea as the fifth most censored country in the world, and HRW notes the opposition party holds just one of the 100 seats in the country’s House of Representatives.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More