The amended Constitution which increased the power of the President was promulgated in February. A transitional government was appointed pending elections in 2013. There were reports of unlawful killings by soldiers. Human rights defenders as well as political activists and government critics were harassed, arbitrarily arrested and detained. Some detainees were subjected to torture. A prisoner of conscience and at least 20 other political prisoners were released in a presidential pardon. Freedom of expression and of the press continued to be restricted.
The amended Constitution, which was approved by referendum in November 2011, was promulgated in February. In accordance with the new Constitution and pending elections in early 2013, a caretaker government was appointed in May which included 12 members of President Obiang Nguema’s family. Although not provided for by the Constitution, the President appointed his eldest son, Teodoro “Teodorín” Nguema Obiang, as second Vice-President.
In March, investigating judges in France sought an international warrant for the arrest of “Teodorín” Nguema Obiang in the context of an investigation into embezzlement of public funds and money laundering. In August, French police confiscated his residence in Paris alleging that it was bought with cash embezzled from Equatorial Guinea. In September the government of Equatorial Guinea asked the International Court of Justice to rule that France should drop an investigation of the country’s President and his son, cancel an arrest warrant against the son, and return seized property. In October the Malabo Investigating Court issued an arrest order against the director of the French branch of the NGO Transparency International, accusing him of libel and defamation, and extortion of the Equatorial Guinea state and illicit amassing of wealth.Top of page
Human rights defenders were harassed and arrested in relation to their work, as well as their peaceful political activities.
There were arbitrary arrests and detentions of suspected opponents, including for not attending the August celebrations of the anniversary of President Obiang taking power. Most were released without charge after a few days or weeks. Several were tortured or otherwise ill-treated.
Some 10 people, including relatives and friends of Agustín Esono Nsogo, were subsequently arrested in Bata. At least three were transferred to Black Beach prison in Malabo and were released without charge on 30 October, together with Agustín Esono Nsogo’s lawyer, Fabián Nsue, who had been arrested without a warrant on 22 October in Black Beach prison, where he had gone to see a client arrested a week earlier.Top of page
Antonio Lebán, a member of the Army Special Forces, was arrested in Bata soon after 17 October and was not seen or heard from since. His arrest appeared to be linked to that of Agustín Esono Nsogo.Top of page
Soldiers and police reportedly carried out extrajudicial executions.
The press remained under state control and criticism was not allowed. In mid-October, a programme on national radio was stopped and suspended indefinitely as it broadcast an interview with a woman representative of 18 families who had been forcibly evicted from their homes in Bata. The woman had criticized the president of the Supreme Court for alleged personal involvement in the dispute.Top of page
A prisoner of conscience and 20 other prisoners who may have been prisoners of conscience were released in a presidential pardon in June.Top of page