Equatorial Guinea court sentences 7 Nigerians for palace attack

[JURIST] An Equatorial Guinea court on Monday sentenced seven Nigerians to 12 years in prison for a 2009 attack on the presidential palace. Court president Antonio Pascual Ojo Ebobo found the Nigerians guilty of terrorism [AFP report] and said they would be fined 149 million CFA francs (USD $310,000). The Nigerians, along with 11 Equatorial Guineans, were arrested [BBC report] after a February 2009 attack on Equatorial Guinea's presidential palace in Malabo. Security forces stopped the Nigerian gunmen, alleged members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger River Delta (MEND) [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], who were supposedly guided by locals on mobile phones. The court also released four additional Equatorial Guineans, all members of the opposition People's Union Party, after freeing seven [SAPA report] last month for a lack of evidence.

Equatorial Guinea has a history of coups [JURIST news archive]. Last year, former British military officer with the elite Special Air Service [BBC backgrounder], Simon Mann [BBC profile, JURIST news archive], convicted [JURIST report] in 2008 of involvement in a 2004 coup attempt [BBC backgrounder], was released from prison after being pardoned [JURIST report] by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo [official profile]. Mann was arrested in 2004 after a plane carrying him and approximately 60 mercenaries landed in Zimbabwe. Admitting his involvement in planning the coup, Mann was sentenced in 2004 in Zimbabwe for weapons charges, and was deported [JURIST reports] to Equatorial Guinea in secret in February 2007. At his trial, Mann testified that Mark Thatcher [BBC profile], the son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was involved in the plot [JURIST report] to overthrow Mbasogo. Thatcher pleaded guilty [JURIST report] in South Africa in 2005 to charges related to the failed coup. The last successful coup in Equatorial Guinea was when the current president Mbasogo toppled his uncle in 1979.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.