Spain issues arrest warrant for son of Equatorial Guinea president

Spain issues arrest warrant for son of Equatorial Guinea president

The investigation into the kidnapping of four opponents of the government of Equatorial Guinea, which was at a standstill, was spectacularly relaunched on Friday February 23 with the announcement by a Spanish judge of arrest warrants against three leaders of this country African, including one of the president’s sons.

The “European and international” arrest warrants target Carmelo Ovono Obiang, son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, as well as Nicolás Obama Nchama and Isaac Nguema Ondo, said the National Audience, the Spanish court responsible for terrorism cases and files. delicate.

Carmelo Ovono Obiang is also the head of the foreign intelligence service of this former Spanish colony, while Mr. Obama Nchama is Minister of State and responsible for internal security and Mr. Nguema Endo is director general of Presidential Security.

The National Court specified in a press release that the arrest warrants had been issued by judge Francisco de Jorge, who took over the investigation previously carried out by his colleague Santiago Pedraz. The latter had opposed the issuance of these arrest warrants.

With this decision, Judge Jorge complies with a ruling rendered Thursday by the investigating chamber of the National Court, which upheld a request from an association of Equatorial Guinean opponents to which joined the families of the victims, specifies the court.

This association, the Movement for the Liberation of the Third Republic of Equatorial Guinea (MLGE3R), is an opposition movement in exile based in Spain. She regularly denounces human rights abuses in this small oil state in Central Africa.

“Crocodile” torture

Spanish justice suspects Carmelo Ovono Obiang and the two other senior officials of the Malabo regime of being involved in the kidnapping and torture in 2019 of four opponents, who resided in Spain and two of whom had Spanish nationality.

In his decision made public on Friday, Judge Jorge indicates that the four men were kidnapped in South Sudan, where they went at the invitation of a friend, specifying that it was a “trap » to remove them.

They were then allegedly forcibly taken to Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, where they were imprisoned and tortured for their alleged participation in a coup attempt.

According to the Madrid daily El Pais, which had access to police notes and testimonies, they were notably subjected to the so-called “crocodile” torture, consisting of hanging the prisoner upside down, feet and hands chained, in order to cause blood vessels to burst.

One of these four opponents, Julio Obama Mefuman, of Spanish nationality, died in January 2023. MLGE3R claims that he was tortured and died in a prison in that country.

For its part, the Malabo government claims that he is dead “in a hospital (…) following an illness from which he suffered”.

Judge Pedraz had requested the repatriation of his body in order to carry out an autopsy, but was refused by Malabo. He also summoned the three Equatoguinean officials being prosecuted a year ago for questioning, but they did not show up.

After a year of investigation, and to everyone’s surprise, Judge Pedraz finally announced at the beginning of January the abandonment of his investigation in favor of the Equatorial Guinean justice system, considering that there was no “no element allowing us to conclude (…) that acts were committed in Spain”.

After the opening of the investigation in early 2023, another son of the head of state, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, also vice-president of Equatorial Guinea, accused Spain of“interference” and described the four opponents as “terrorists”.

Equatorial Guinea, one of the most closed countries in the world, has been ruled with an iron fist since 1979 by Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, 81, who holds the world record for longevity in power for a serving head of state, in outside of monarchies.

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