Equatorial Guinea: arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Alfredo Okenve Ndoho

20/03/2019
Urgent Appeal

GNQ 001 / 0319 / OBS 026
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
Equatorial Guinea
March 20, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Equatorial Guinea.

Description of the situation:
 
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention of Mr. Alfredo Okenve Ndoho, Vice-President of the NGO Centro de Estudios e iniciativas para el Desarrollo (CEID), who has been particularly active on the need for more transparency in the field of extractive industries’ transparency.
 
According to the information received, on March 15, 2019, Mr. Alfredo Okenve Ndoho was arrested by eight security officers at Malabo airport passport control office. He was then flown handcuffed to Bata aboard a military plane, and driven to an undisclosed location before being finally brought to his house in Bata, where he was put under house arrest. The police confiscated his mobile phone and passport.

On the same day, Mr. Alfredo Okenve Ndoho’s cousin, Mr. Joaquín Mangué Obama, had been arrested by security forces at his home in Malabo because he refused to disclose the human rights defender’s whereabouts. For this reason, Mr. Alfredo Okenve Ndoho decided to try to flee the country and was then arrested at the airport control office.

The Observatory recalls that this is not the first case of harassment against Mr. Alfredo Okenve Ndoho. On October 27, 2018, he was assaulted and severely injured by a group of plain-clothed security officers. After the attack, he went to Spain to receive medical care, and returned in Equatorial Guinea on February 16, 2019. On April 17, 2017, he was arrested by the police and arbitrarily detained. On March 2016, the Ministry of Interior ordered CEID to suspend its activities, and threatened Mr. Okenve and Mr. Asumu, the president of the NGO, to fine them 10 million XAF (around 15’000 EUR) for violating this order.

In the past years, Equatorial Guinea has been attempting to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a pre-condition to receive loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but this was rejected due to the high level of harassment against human rights defenders in the country. In the context of the upcoming review of the Universal Period Review (UPR), the Observatory is particularly concerned that the crackdown will intensify against those voices denouncing the human rights violations in the country.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Equatorial Guinea urging them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Mr. Alfredo Okenve Ndoho, as well as all human rights defenders in Equatorial Guinea;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Alfredo Okenve Ndoho, as his detention is arbitrary and merely aimed at punishing him for his human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Alfredo Okenve Ndoho, as well as all human rights defenders in Equatorial Guinea;

iv. Comply with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular Articles 1 and 12.2;

v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and instruments ratified by Equatorial Guinea.

 
Addresses:  
· Mr. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea;
· Mr. Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, Vice President of the Republic, in charge of national defence and state security;
· Mr. Alfonso Nsue Mokuy, Vice Prime Minister in charge of Human Rights; Tel + 240 222 134 407
· Mr. Clemente Engonga Nguema, Minister of the Interior and Local Corporations, Fax: +240 333 09 2683/ 2688/ 3406
· Mr. Salvador Ondo Ncumu, Minister of Justice, Religious Affairs and Penitentiary Institutions;
· Mr. David Nguema Obiang, Chief Prosecutor, Fax: +240 333 09 1338/ 4961
· Mr. Marcelino Nguema Onguene, Ombudsman ; Tel +240 222 275 979
· Permanent Mission of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea to the United Nations in Geneva, Chemin de La Voie-Creuse 3c, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 734 39 60, Email: mision.guineacuatorial_gva@yahoo.com
· H.E. Carmelo Nvono-Nca, Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in Belgium, G. van Arezzoplein 6, 1180 Brussels, Belgium; Fax: (+32) 2 346 33 09, Email: guineaecuatorial.brux@skynet.be
 
Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Equatorial Guinea in your respective country.

 
***
Geneva-Paris, March 20, 2019
 
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
 
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.
 
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

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