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Alleged Equatorial Guinea coup plotter accuses Thatcher of coup involvement

[JURIST] British national Simon Mann [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], accused of participating in an alleged coup attempt [BBC backgrounder] against Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo [BBC profile] in 2004, has accused Sir Mark Thatcher [BBC profile] of being involved in the plot, Equatorial Guinea Attorney General Jose Olo said Sunday. According to Olo, Mann, whose trial is set to begin in May, made statements to prosecutors during recent pretrial testimony that Thatcher was fully aware of the scheme to overthrow the president. Despite Saturday reports [AFP report] that Equatorial Guinea has requested an international arrest warrant [Guardian report] for Thatcher, son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, international police organization Interpol [official website] on Sunday denied having received such a request.

Thatcher pleaded guilty [JURIST report] in South Africa in 2005 to charges related to the failed coup and later admitted to having chartered a helicopter for Mann, but has denied knowledge of or involvement in the coup plot. Mann was sentenced [JURIST report] in 2004 in Zimbabwe for plotting the coup, and was deported [JURIST report] to Equatorial Guinea in secret last month before his appeal process against extradition in Zimbabwe was complete. His lawyers argued that Mann would face torture and possibly the death penalty if extradited, but the Zimbabwe High Court ruled against his appeal [JURIST report] in January, finding that there was enough evidence of his involvement to carry out extradition, and that the defense failed to show a sufficient likelihood of torture. Equatorial Guinea has promised to give Mann a fair trial and not seek capital punishment. Reuters has more.

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