[JURIST] Equatorial Guinea on Tuesday defended the execution of four men convicted on Saturday of attempting to assassinate President Teodoro Obiang during a 2009 attack on the presidential palace. Jose Abeso Nsue, Manuel Ndong Anseme, Alipio Ndong Asumu and Jacinto Micha Obiang were executed immediately after being convicted by a military court in Malabo. Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] condemned the execution [press release] on Monday claiming that the four men were detained in Black Beach prison in Malabo where they were tortured into giving false confessions. Denouncing the government’s judicial procedure, AI Africa Director Erwin van der Borght stated:
These men were convicted after an unfair trial, sentenced to death and executed with chilling speed without having the slightest opportunity to appeal their sentence. Equatorial Guinea must put an end to the abductions, torture and executions it currently carries out under the pretense of justice.
The government stands by the conviction [AP report] of the four former government officials, stating that they received a fair and open trial before a military tribunal and were provided with counsel.
In April, an Equatorial Guinea court sentenced seven Nigerians [JURIST report] to 12 years in prison on terrorism charges for their role in the 2009 attack. 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 to the presidential palace 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 last month for a lack of evidence. 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 Obiang. Mann was arrested in 2004 after a plane carrying him and approximately 60 mercenaries landed in Zimbabwe.