Equatorial Guinea

Region: Central Africa

Number of Trials: 1

Mass trial of 112 defendants in alleged coup attempt case

In Equatorial Guinea, TrialWatch is seeking justice for those convicted in a mass trial that failed to respect “nearly every fair trial right” protected under international law and prior to which a number of the defendants were tortured.

Mass trial for alleged coup attempt

CFJ’s partner the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights monitored a 2019 mass trial of alleged coup plotters in Equatorial Guinea as part of TrialWatch. Over a hundred individuals were accused of attempting a coup against the President of Equatorial Guinea. Among the defendants were opposition figures, foreign workers accused of being in the country to “make war,” and family members of alleged participants in the coup. From the beginning, defendants experienced grave mistreatment at the hands of Equatoguinean authorities. Defendants were held in pretrial detention without access to counsel or information regarding the charges brought against them. Many of the defendants alleged being tortured while in detention. One defendant recounted having his arms pulled behind his back as the police used large pincers on his genitals and feet in an attempt to elicit a confession. At trial, the court’s treatment of the prosecution and defense was wildly disparate. And in the middle of trial, the President of Equatorial Guinea appointed new judges and prosecutors to the case from the government’s military and police ranks, removing any semblance of judicial independence. The TrialWatch Fairness Report on the case gave the trial a grade of ‘F,’ finding that the judgment “failed to make individualized findings of guilt or to undertake evidentiary analysis.”

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From March to May 2019, the American Bar Association’s Center for Human Rights monitored a mass trial in Equatorial Guinea as part of the CFJ's TrialWatch initiative. The proceedings concluded with the unjust conviction of 112 defendants for participation in an alleged coup attempt.

See the Fairness Report