Saturday, February 09, 2008

British Mercenary Photographed in Equatorial Guinea Prison After Extradition From Zimbabwe

UK's Mann 'fine' in E Guinea jail

Mann was arrested in 2004 and again last year

Briton Simon Mann, accused of plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea, has been shown on television, apparently in good health despite fears of torture.

The US ambassador has seen him and says he is "fine", according to the British Foreign Office.

He was extradited to the capital, Malabo, from Zimbabwe last week without the knowledge of his lawyers.

The ex-SAS officer was jailed in Zimbabwe on arms charges in 2004, and rearrested after his release last May.

Equatorial Guinea has a poor human rights record. Amnesty International says that a German national arrested in the country over the same alleged coup plot was tortured before he died in prison.


Mann, 55, was seen in handcuffs, leg irons and a blue prison uniform in the notorious Black Beach prison in Malabo.

He was surrounded by military personnel.

Government spokesman Santiago Efuman said that Mann would be put on trial and that there was "proof showing Simon Mann was the hand guiding the actions of the mercenaries against Equatorial Guinea".

A British Foreign Office spokeswoman said a consul based in Nigeria had travelled to Equatorial Guinea and was trying to meet him.

"Mr Mann's welfare remains our number one priority," she said.

"We continue to make representations at the highest levels over the fact that he was moved from Zimbabwe without notice."

Fair trial

He was arrested in Zimbabwe in 2004 after arriving from South Africa on board a plane carrying weapons.

He was accused of trying to fetch arms for a coup against Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema and jailed.

Grim jail conditions await

He maintains he was going to help guard a mine in Democratic Republic of Congo.

More than 60 men arrested with him - most of them South African citizens of Angolan origin - were released in 2005 after serving a year's sentence in Zimbabwe.

Sir Mark Thatcher, son of former UK Prime Minister now Baroness Thatcher, was fined and received a suspended sentence in South Africa for his involvement in the affair.

Another 23 people, mostly South Africans, were convicted in Equatorial Guinea itself.

One South African, Nick du Toit, remains in prison in Equatorial Guinea, serving a 34-year sentence.

In 2005, Amnesty reported that those arrested in Equatorial Guinea faced starvation, as they had been given just a cup of rice a day.

Officials in Equatorial Guinea denied those claims.

They have said Mann will get a fair trial and will not face the death penalty.

Equatorial Guinea, an oil-rich former Spanish colony, has been ruled by President Obiang since he seized power from his uncle in a coup in 1979.

Mann Extradited to Equatorial Guinea

The Herald (Harare)
2 February 2008

BRITISH mercenary Simon Francis Mann was on Thursday extradited to Equatorial Guinea to face trial for allegedly masterminding a foiled coup plot to overthrow the government of President Teodoro Obiang Mbasogo Nguema about four years ago.

His lawyer, Mr Jonathan Samkange, yesterday unsuccessfully sought an order in the High Court to have his client brought back to Zimbabwe claiming that he had been abducted out of the country in breach of his rights.

Justice Alfas Chitakunye dismissed the application on the grounds that when Mann was extradited to the oil-rich West African country, no appeal had been lodged with the Supreme Court.

As such, the court could not grant the relief sought.

Mr Samkange filed a notice of appeal at the Supreme Court at around 9am on Thursday, hours after Mann had already been handed over to Equatorial Guinea authorities for extradition.

He has expressed discontent over the manner in which his client's case was handled describing the action as "abduction".

He urged human rights groups the world over to rally behind him as he tries to rescue his client.

"It is an abuse of process," fumed Mr Samkange in front of local and international Press outside the High Court building.

"As far as I am concerned, that was abduction. He was taken against his will in total violation of his rights. They did not tell me as his lawyer. I am talking about rights here."

Mr Samkange vowed that he would "leave no stone unturned. I am taking the issue all the way to the African Commission and International Court of Justice in quest for justice."

Mr Francis Chirimuuta of Gula-Ndebele and Partners, who represented the Civil Aviation Authority said the ruling was very rational in the circumstances.

"The ruling was very rational and the action taken to extradite Mann was proper since there was no appeal at the High Court at the time of extradition, which could have suspended the deportation," said Mr Chirimuuta.

Civil Aviation was cited together with the Minister of Home Affairs, Police Commissioner-General, Attorney-General and Immigration Authority, who were represented by Chief Law Officer Mrs Florence Ziyambi.

In their application, Mr Samkange sought an order compelling the State to bring Mann to court to prove that he had not been deported.

They also wanted an order nullifying the extradition on the grounds that it was irregular, since an appeal had been lodged at the Supreme Court.

But the Deputy Attorney-General in charge of the Criminal Division, Mr Johannes Tomana, in his affidavit filed with the court, opposed the application saying it was fatally defective and improperly before the court.

Mr Tomana said the purported application was between Simon Mann and the government of Equatorial Guinea. "Therefore, it follows that the principal respondent in this matter is not cited. On that basis alone this application is fatally defective and must be dismissed with the contempt it deserves," said Mr Tomana. Principal Immigration Officer Mr Evans Siziba in his supporting papers confirmed that Mann was extradited before the appeal was filed at the superior court. Mr Siziba said the police informed him to process Mann's extradition papers at about 01:30am on Thursday as his appeal had been dismissed.

"Thereafter I proceeded to collect the letter authorising the extradition of Simon Mann from the Acting Minister (Cde Nicholas Goche's) office," said Mr Siziba.

He said he was then accompanied to collect Mann from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison by two police officers. "We collected him at about 4.20am hours and proceeded to the place of handover, which was Manyame Airbase. At Manyame Airbase we handed him over to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea authorities at 5:15am.

"They boarded an Airforce plane, which took off at about 5:50am," said Mr Siziba. In dismissing the appeal, the High Court noted that the government of Equatorial Guinea had established a solid case against the mercenary for purposes of extradition.

Before his extradition, Mann was being held in custody on an immigration warrant pending his deportation to Equatorial Guinea to face trial for plotting to topple President Nguema, after serving a four-year jail term for contravening the Zimbabwe firearms and immigration laws.

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