Libreville - An Equatorial-Guinea opposition lawyer who visited a client held at the infamous Black Beach prison in Malabo has not resurfaced a day later, an opposition leader said on Tuesday.
Fabian Nsue went to Black Beach on Monday to pay a visit to Agustin Esono Nzogo Nsang, a schoolmaster with ties to the small oil-rich nation's opposition who was jailed last week for embezzlement.
"We fear for both of them. We have not had news from Fabian since yesterday afternoon," Daniel Dario Martinez Ayecaba, chairman of the Popular Union party, told AFP in Libreville.
"His car is parked in front of Black Beach. We suppose he's in there or has been transferred somewhere else," the opposition leader said.
Nzogo was arrested last week in Bata, the biggest city on the mainland, and immediately transferred to Black Beach, which is located in the island capital Malabo.
He is accused of attempting to convert more than a million euros stolen by one of his students from a high-ranking regime official into the local currency, the CFA franc, according to a prison official speaking on condition of anonymity.
Martinez charged Nzogo was set up.
"It's a political case," Martinez said, adding: "Agustin Esono is the nephew of Pedro Motu Mamiaga," a former army officer who defected to the Popular Union party, was later arrested and died in detention in 1993.
Symbol of brutal rule
Fabian Nuse had told AFP last week that he had been trying to gain access to his client.
"I met the prison director, who showed me the inmates registry. I didn't find Agustin Esono's name on it but we all know he's there," he said.
"Sometimes the regime brings prisoners in the middle of the night when the director isn't there," he said.
Equatorial Guinea has been ruled with an iron first by Teodoro Obiang Nguema since 1979, which makes him the longest-standing ruler on the continent.
Black Beach prison, built under Spanish rule in the 1940s, lies near a black sand beach in Malabo and its name alone sends chills down the spines of all Equato-Guineans.
In the early 1970s, Black Beach prison became a symbol of the brutal rule of the country's first president Macias Nguema. Thousands of people are believed to have been tortured and killed there.
Britain's Eton-educated former SAS Simon Mann was famously jailed there after the failed 2004 bid to overthrow Obiang he spearheaded with a group of mercenaries and claimed he was tortured.