One of the main opponents of Equatorial Guinea has been sentenced to 29 years in prison, nine months after he was arrested in a raid on the headquarters of his dissolved party, state television announced Tuesday June 27.
Gabriel Nse Obiang Obono, sentenced on Monday alongside dozens of supporters by a Malabo military court, had been arrested at the end of September 2022 with 150 of his supporters when he came to lend his support to 200 supporters barricaded at the headquarters of the Citizens for Innovation (CI) party dissolved in 2018.
After several days of siege, the police launched a violent assault on these entrenched people, including women and children. Several people were injured and some 150 arrested, including Mr. Nse Obiang Obono. One policeman was shot dead during the operation, according to the authorities.
On Monday, the opponent was sentenced to 29 years in prison for “homicide, abusive exercise of fundamental rights, insults to the security forces, illegal possession of ammunition”, Television de Guinea Ecuatorial (TVGE) reported on Monday and Tuesday, broadcasting footage of the trial and showing the opponent and some 50 co-defendants in ochre prison garb before judges, magistrates, and lawyers in army uniform.
According to the channel, the defendants were sentenced to between 9 and 29 years’ imprisonment, most of them for the same charges, in one of the country’s customary mass trials involving collective judgments. For these trials, which take place behind closed doors in military courts, magistrates, clerks and even lawyers are military personnel and are not allowed to speak to the press.
A few days before the arrests, Mr. Nse Obiang Obono announced his intention to call for demonstrations because the authorities would not allow his party to field candidates in the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for a month later.