2008 Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention - Addendum - Mission to Equatorial Guinea

2008 Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention - Addendum - Mission to Equatorial Guinea

United Nations Human Rights Council | February 18, 2008
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A summary of the findings of the Human Right Council's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention's visit to Equatorial Guinea July 8-13, 2007.

"The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention visited the Republic of Equatorial Guinea from 8 to 13 July 2007, at the invitation of the Government. The visit included the capital, Malabo, located on Bioko Island, and the cities of Bata and Evinayong, on the mainland. The Working Group held meetings with the country’s highest authorities, including the Prime Minister, the Presidents of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court and members of those bodies, the Minister of National Defence and the Governor of Centro-Sur Province. Meetings were also held with representatives of civil society, criminal lawyers, former detainees and the families of people in detention. 

The report gives an account of the Working Group’s visits to Malabo central prison, known as “Black Beach”, to the prisons of Bata and Evinayong, and to the cells of the Malabo police headquarters and the Bata police station and Gendarmería. The Working Group was able to interview, in private and without witnesses, approximately 200 detainees. 

Areas of concern identified by the Working Group include the fact that laws and regulations inherited from the colonial era and dating back to the Franco dictatorship in Spain are still in effect and enforced, among them the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedure Act and the Code of Military Justice, which contain principles and standards incompatible with the 1995 Constitution and international instruments. It is also noteworthy that Organization Act No. 4/2002 on the legal status of the judiciary does not provide sufficient guarantees for the independence of the judiciary or of judges and law officers, and that the police and the Gendarmería, which often carry out arbitrary arrests and detentions, have excessive powers..."

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