Ambassador says ‘mercenaries’ won’t get death penalty

SABC News, South Africa
Aug 24 2004

Ambassador says ‘mercenaries’ won’t get death penalty

Samuel Monaisa, the South African ambassador to Gabon, says he is
confident that the 14 suspected mercenaries held in Equatorial Guinea
will not be sentenced to death. Eight South Africans and six
Armenians were arrested in March and accused of plotting to topple
the oil-rich nation’s president with the help of 70 men detained in

The prosecutor called for a maximum sentence on Nick du Toit, the
alleged mercenary leader yesterday, despite an assurance by the
government of Equatorial Guinea that the men would not be sentenced
to death. Monaise says it is common in any such case that the
prosecutor would be driving for a certain sentence but that does not
necessarily mean that is how the final judgment will pan out. He says
furthermore, the fact that what the men had planned was not carried
out and that the government has already ruled out the death sentence
makes him confident. In the Equatorial justice system, trial judges
report directly to the president.

Monaise says he does not have the jurisdiction to approach the court
and request that the government assurance be taken into account. “I
can’t do that that would be interfering in the judicial system of
another country… what we are just trying to do is to ensure that the
trial is transparent, fair and just.”

The South African government has sent four senior officials to attend
the trial. Among them are officials from the department of foreign
affairs, the department of justice and the National Prosecuting