Equatorial Guinea: No Free Flow of Information

Equatorial Guinea: No Free Flow of Information

Amnesty International | June 4, 2000
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This document examines the arrest of five individuals in Equatorial Guinea for possessing a two-years-old Amnesty International document, photocopying a Spanish newspaper article, and having an opposition newspaper. At the time of publication, two remained in prison following an unfair trial in a military court.

"Possessing a two-years-old Amnesty International appeal document, photocopying a Spanish newspaper article and having an opposition newspaper have led five people to be arrested in the last year in Equatorial Guinea. Two are still in prison after an unfair trial in a military court.

None of these publications for which people were arrested called for violence and none were banned. All were published by legal, established organizations. Nevertheless, the documents were described by the courts of Equatorial Guinea as ''material of dubious provenance'' (material de dudosa provenencia). The person accused of possessing an Amnesty International document, Mariano Oyono Ndongwas tried in December 1999 together with two other people, Sergeant Antonio Engonga Bibangand Carmelo Biko Ngua, who were charged with ''insults against the government and the Armed Forces'' (Injurias contra el Gobierno y contra las Fuerzas Armadas) and ''illicit possession of ammunition''(Tenencia ilícita de municiones) respectively. They were also apparently accused of holding an illegal political meeting. In fact these three people appear to have been arrested for being members of the Fuerza Demócrata Republicana(FDR), Democratic Republican Force, an opposition political party which has been refused official recognition. Mariano Oyono Ndong and Antonio Engonga Bibangwere sentenced to three years' imprisonment and Carmelo Biko Ngua received a six-month sentence. Their trial, before a military court, was unfair..."


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