10 June 2002
The Socialist International denounces the travesty of justice during the trial that just ended in Equatorial Guinea and condemns the sentencing to prison of Plácido Micó, Secretary General of the SI member Convergence for Social Democracy, CPDS.
The trial against Micó and 143 other people followed a series of mass arrests by the government in April and May after the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva had ended the mandate of its special rapporteur on Equatorial Guinea.
Plácido Micó is a longtime leader in the struggle for democracy in Equatorial Guinea and the clampdown appears to have been designed to undermine the efforts of the CPDS and others who have tried to prepare for elections in the face of government repression.
Most of those arrested were tried on questionable charges of being involved in an alleged coup plot. The trial itself was marked by lack of due process, procedural irregularities and the presentation of dubious evidence. The principal witness against Micó exhibited clear signs of torture - as did a number of other witnesses brought by the government - and even retracted his testimony.
At the conclusion of this blatantly corrupt exercise, 68 people were convicted and jailed for terms of up to twenty years, including Micó who was sentenced to fourteen years and eight months in prison.
The Socialist International calls upon the entire international community to join in vigorously protesting this latest miscarriage of justice in Equatorial Guinea and to redouble efforts to ensure that human rights are respected there. The International specifically urges the UN Human Rights Commission to renew the mandate of its special rapporteur on Equatorial Guinea.
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