22 May 2008
Release Equatorial Guinea pastor
Reverend Bienvenido Samba Momesori, a Protestant pastor and member of an ethnic group native to Bioko Island, has been detained since October 2003 without charge or trial. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience, arrested solely for his peaceful political opinions and because of his ethnic origin.

Reverend Bienvenido Samba Momesori, in his mid-50s, married with four daughters and one son, is a pastor of the Church of Cherubs and Seraphs.

On Sunday 26 October 2003 he was arrested at his church in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, on Bioko Island. He has been held without charge or trial ever since.

The authorities initially denied they were holding him, but after two weeks his family discovered he was in Black Beach prison in Malabo. Later he was transferred, apparently when the authorities heard that a Red Cross delegation was looking for him. The authorities again refused to disclose his whereabouts, but in December 2003 his family learned that Reverend Samba was in Evinayong Prison on the mainland.

Initially held incommunicado, he now shares a cell with fellow prisoner of conscience Felipe Ondó Obiang. His conditions of detention have improved somewhat since 2003. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is able to visit regularly.

However, following a visit by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in July 2007, family visits in all prisons have been restricted to once a month and last only 15 minutes. Because the prison is far from their home Reverend Samba’s family visit only every five months or so. Food provided by the authorities in prisons in Equatorial Guinea has increased, but remains insufficient and unvaried, so the family brings food, or money to buy it, when they visit. Prisoners often share their food with those who have no families to provide for them.

Reverend Samba’s family and the ICRC also provide medicines for his chronic ailments, as the prison does not provide treatment for any acute illness.

On 5 June 2006, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo released 42 people in an amnesty to mark his 64th birthday. Those benefiting included prisoners of conscience and political detainees - most of whom had been imprisoned without charge or trial for over two years. Please aim at intensifying your work on behalf of Reverend Samba around that date.
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