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Amnesty says detainees risk torture, death

Amnesty International reported Thursday that detainees held incommunicado in Bata, Equatorial Guinea, for their alleged links with an illegal opposition party risked torture and death.

It added that "tens of people" were being held in Bata, the largest city on the mainland, for their links with the Republican Democratic Force (Fuerza Democratica Republicana - FDR). The detainees, Amnesty reported, included a pregnant woman and three sons of former parliamentarian and FDR leader Felipe Ondo Obiang Alogo. They were, it added, "apparently arrested only because of their family links with the FDR leader".
It added, "Eyewitnesses have seen some of these detainees in prison with visible marks of torture."

Amnesty said "reliable information" indicated that many detainees are being transferred regularly from the Bata Public Prison to several unofficial places of detention in the city. These included the presidential palace "Africa": an isolated beach house near the village of Utonde (north of Bata airport) where detainees would be "severely tortured", Amnesty reported.

It said these arrests began on 14 March in Malabo, the capital, with Alogo and brother-in- law Emilio Ndongo Biyogo; a member of the Popular Union (Union Popular). Since then others have been arrested, among them former minister of finance Guillermo Nguema Ela (a FDR member) and some high ranking military officers. Amnesty reported that the arrests were mainly in Malabo and Mongomo, a town near the border with Gabon and home to some high-ranking government officials.

The authorities in Equatorial Guinea had not officially explained the reasons for the arrests, Amnesty reported. However, it added, the interior minister said at a recent meeting with political parties there was evidence that the FDR had tried to recruit military people to attack state officials.

"The minister also publicly accused the leaders of the Convergencia para la Democracia Social (Convergence for Social Democracy), one of the few opposition parties still active, of being linked with the plotters and advocating violence," Amnesty reported.

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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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