2010: Four in Equatorial Guinea

(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.)

On this date last year, four Equatorial Guinean men were executed immediately after they were convicted of treason in a military court in the tiny African nation’s capital of Malabo.

The defendants, all former military officers, reportedly confessed to attacking the presidential palace in February 2009, supposedly in an attempt to assassinate the president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

Fortunately for him, he wasn’t in residence that day.

The attack had originally been blamed on Nigerian militants; in the aftermath, seven Nigerian men were sentenced to prison for their alleged involvement, and dozens of Nigerian expatriates were expelled from the country.

International observers castigated the trials and executions as not meeting international standards of fairness. This is no surprise, seeing as how Equatorial Guinea has one of the worst human rights records in the world.

According to Amnesty International, the four men weren’t even in the country at the time of the attack, having been exiled to Benin some years before. President Obiang’s agents abducted them from Benin in January 2010. Because of the “chilling speed” of the executions, none of the condemned had the opportunity to appeal the verdict and sentences or seek clemency, as Equatorial Guinea’s own law is supposed to provide.

José Abeso Nsue, Manuel Ndong Anseme, Alipio Ndong Asumu and Jacinto Michá Obiang (no apparent relation to his alleged target) were the only Equatorial Guineans known to have faced the death penalty that year.

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