April 9, 2015.Five youth -Rusgan Ikaka, Tadeo Esono Engonga, Agustín Pedro Mesié Oyana, and Serafín Mata Riopo, aged between 18 and 23 years; and 13-year old Daniel Gota Wachuki- were arrested in the neighborhood of Campo Yaundé on 26 March. These arrests took place in the context of a recent protest by university students in the capital, Malabo; as police pursued and indiscriminately arrested students as well as other young people perceived as students who might have participated in the protest. Daniel Gota Wachuki, the 13-year-old child, was arrested as he was using his cell phone to film the arrests and forcible entry into the homes of suspected students by the police.
Although the police has released without charges 56 arrested university students, these five named youths—none of whom are university students—continue to be held at Malabo Central Police Station in a common cell along with criminal suspects.
"The arrest, detention, and imprisonment with adults of a child is a serious and unacceptable violation of the child’s rights, protected by national and international human rights law. His continued detention prevents him from attending school. This is a violation of his right to education. There is no excuse whatsoever for the arrest of a child and Daniel Gota Wachuki must be released immediately," said Tutu Alicante, EG Justice director.
Similarly, the arbitrary arrest and detention without charge of the four young adults also violated Equatorial Guinea’s law which stipulates that detainees must be brought before a judge within 72 hours in order to be charged and had the detention legalized or be released. "There is no reason for the arrest of these four people, let alone for their continued detention. They have not committed any crime and therefore must be released immediately", added Tutu Alicante.
On March 25, students at the Equatorial Guinea National University – UNGE (Universidad Nacional de Guinea Ecuatorial) in Malabo started a peaceful protest for non-payment of scholarships, and the process for the allocation of scholarships. The protest continued on March 26. On both dates police used force and teargas to disperse the students. Scores were arrested, including some who were not university students. Some were arrested in their homes in the Campo Yaundé neighborhood. The students were held at the Central Police Station in Malabo. Fifty six were released by April 6.
Equatorial Guinea is a party to the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In addition, Equatorial Guinea is also a State party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. All these conventions expressly ban heinous treatment of a child.
For more information or to seek an interview, please contact:
For EG Justice – in Tampa, FL, Tutu Alicante (English, Spanish): +1-615-479-0207
(cell); or firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter @TutuAlicante