The European Union said on Monday it was “deeply concerned” by the “severe” prison sentences imposed on one of the main opponents in Equatorial Guinea, sentenced to 29 years in prison, and on dozens of members of his dissolved party. .
Gabriel Nse Obiang Obono, sentenced at the end of June by a military court in Malabo, was arrested at the end of September 2022 with 150 of his supporters when he came to support 200 supporters barricaded at the headquarters of the Citizens for Innovation party (CI ) dissolved in 2018.
The other defendants were sentenced to 9 to 29 years in prison, in one of these mass trials with collective judgments which the country is accustomed to.
“The EU is deeply concerned about the severity of the sentences imposed on the leader of the Citizens for Innovation party and other of its members,” the office of EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement. a statement.
In September 2022, after several days of siege, the police launched a violent assault against these entrenched people, including women and children.
Several people were injured and some 150 arrested, including Nse Obiang Obono. A police officer was shot and killed during the operation, authorities said.
Nse Obiang Obono was sentenced for “homicide, abusive exercise of fundamental rights, insults to the security forces, illegal possession of ammunition”.
A few days before these arrests, Nse Obiang Obono had announced his intention to call for demonstrations because the authorities did not authorize his party to present candidates for the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for a month later.
“The use of a military tribunal to convict citizens raises serious questions about respect for the procedure and the rights to a fair trial”, added the European press release, calling on the Equatoguinean authorities to ensure that debate with the opposition and civil society can be “free, peaceful and open”.
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, 81, who holds the world record for longevity at the head of a state for a leader still living, excluding monarchies, won the election of November 20, 2022 with nearly 95% of the vote. For almost 44 years, he has ruled this little hydrocarbon-rich Central African country with an iron fist.
International NGOs and the UN regularly denounce the repression of all dissent in Equatorial Guinea.
This article is originally published on fr.africanews.com