Monday, March 2, 2015

Government Of Equatorial Guinea Refutes Claims Made By Amnesty International

Report of executions is “false,” allegations of poor prison conditions are disputed.

The Government of Equatorial Guinea has strongly denied allegations about the country contained in Amnesty International’s Annual Report 2014/15, including the allegation that it had executed nine prisoners in January 2014.

In a statement issued by Minister of Information Teobaldo Nchaso Matomba on February 26, the government said, “This information is totally false, since neither in January nor in all of 2014, were any executions carried out in Equatorial Guinea.” AI's report had said, "Nine prisoners were executed in January shortly before a temporary moratorium on the death penalty was declared.”

The government stated that AI did not cite “even one of the names of the people supposedly executed, no dates, no causes, no details,” and officially requested a public correction of the record.

The Government of Equatorial Guinea also denied that it had arrested any political opponents in 2014 and asserted that there had not been “a single case of solitary confinement, much less with the aggravators of denial of trial or medical assistance mentioned by AI. Similarly, we deny the allegations of torture that appear in the report,” the government said.

“Over the past year, the Government of Equatorial Guinea has worked closely with international organizations to improve the conditions of prisoners and prison centers, which now offer good food, television and physicians, doctor offices and other health care,” the government said. “It is also a fact that the representatives of the National Human Rights Commission, the Attorney General, and the International Red Cross made regular inspection visits to prisons, police stations and other holding and/or arrest centers in the Country.”

Minister Nchaso’s statement says that the country’s “National Security Authorities have published manuals in which arrests and torture are strictly prohibited, under penalties and measures that include even the separation from the service and other punishing measures.”
He also noted that the Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva had approved the Universal Periodic Review of Equatorial Guinea. “Our country accepted 80 of the 132 Recommendations and conditioned the ratification of the Rome Statute on grounds that were covered by…the unanimous decision adopted by the African Union.”

The government also clarified the status of some individuals cited in the report, saying that three prisoners that AI reported as having been sentenced to long prison terms had been released under a “general amnesty granted to all those convicted of political crimes and who were in legal proceedings for the same offenses.”

The government said that one person cited by AI as a prisoner of conscience “was tried and convicted years ago for diverting the salary of all the Military members of the Continental Region and attempted rebellion in the army.”

The full test of the government’s statement can be read here.