The three senior officials of the Teodoro Obiang regime —including one of his sons— summoned to testify this Tuesday as “defendants” in the framework of the open case for kidnapping and torture of opponents of the Equatorial Guinean dictatorship have avoided their appointment with the Spanish Justice. None of the three have appeared before the judge of the National Court Santiago Pedraz, legal sources inform elDiario.es.
Equatorial Guinea, the forgotten dictatorship: “In Spain there are very powerful people who support the tyranny of Obiang”
The non-appearance of the three defendants occurred after, in the last few hours, the Government of Equatorial Guinea sent a verbal note to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs [comunicación oficial escrita] in which it rejects the competence of the National Court to investigate this investigation against the leaders of the Equatoguinean Executive, according to sources familiar with its content.
The case opened in the Central Court of Instruction number 5 of the National Court is directed against the security circle of President Obiang: Carmelo Ovono Obiang, one of his sons and Secretary of State for foreign security; Nicolás Obama Nchama, Minister of State and head of internal security; and Isaac Ngema Endo, General Director of Presidential Security. They are the three senior officials who were summoned and have not appeared before the Spanish Justice. The popular prosecution will request that an international arrest warrant be issued and they be declared in absentia.
The three are allegedly implicated in the kidnapping and torture inflicted on four prominent opponents of Equatorial Guinean origin residing in Spain who belong to the Movement for the Liberation of Equatorial Guinea Third Republic. They are Martín Obiang Ondo Mbasogo, Bienvenido Ndong Ondo, Feliciano Efa Mangue and Julio Obama Mefuman. The latter died in the Oveng Azem prison (Mongomo) on January 15 in circumstances that have not yet been clarified. Efa Mangue and Obama Mefuman have Spanish nationality, according to the police reports included in the case.
The Movement for the Liberation of Equatorial Guinea Third Republic, to which the opponents belong, affirmed in a statement that Obama Mefuman and the other three militants of this movement “would have been tortured inside the prison in revenge for the presentation of the complaint in justice Spanish”. Judge Pedraz ordered the repatriation of the body, but the authorities of the Equatoguinean country have so far not followed through on the request made through the General Directorate of Consular Affairs.
Police reports place the three on the presidential plane in which the opponents were transferred to Malabo (Equatorial Guinea) from South Sudan. The four opponents had traveled from Madrid to South Sudan in November 2019 to meet with alleged African political leaders with the aim of winning support for their cause. But there they were captured and transferred in a private jet to the capital of Equatorial Guinea. The victims claim that during the journey they were handcuffed and handcuffed and a sack was placed over their heads and a cloth over their mouths. They were also given an injection with an unknown substance. After landing they were transferred to the Oveng-Azem prison, located in the east of the country.
On March 6, the defense of the son of Obiang and Ngema Endo requested that both testify by videoconference. They alleged that their “public commitments” prevented them from traveling to Spain in the coming months “due to the political and health situation in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.” “It is totally disproportionate to have a high-ranking representative of a government come to hold demonstrations when it is feasible to hold the same through a videoconference system,” the brief presented said. The judge agreed to it and, despite this, they have not appeared this Tuesday either.
For his part, the third person investigated, Nicolás Obama Nchama, alleged in another letter the lack of competence of the National Court to carry out this investigation. In that document, his defense emphasizes that “he is not Spanish, nor does he habitually reside in Spain, regardless of whether he is the holder of a residence permit”, so that since he is not in Spanish territory “a basic requirement is missing” for the special court is competent.
The document also stresses that the alleged kidnapping “does not take place in an area that can be classified as terrorism”, since the alleged arrest of the opponents “did not have the purpose of altering the current order in a sovereign country (…)”, if not “detain and make available to the judicial authorities of that country the alleged perpetrators of a crime against the constitutional order of Equatorial Guinea.” And he adds that it was the authorities of South Sudan who rejected these individuals at the border, although he admits that “another thing is whether the means used to carry out said arrests are legal or not or if in the process irregularities”.