Equatorial Guinea’s president grants amnesty to six alleged Armenian
Jun 06, 2005
RODRIGO ANGUE NGEUMA MBA
President Teodoro Obiang has granted full amnesty to six Armenians
sentenced to up to 24 years in prison for their role in an alleged
plot to overthrow the government of this oil-rich African nation,
state radio said.
According to a presidential decree read on national radio late Sunday,
the pardon, granted on the eve of Obiang’s 63rd birthday, was
motivated by humanitarian reasons. The six were to be repatriated
after their release, the radio said. It was not immediately possible
on Monday, a holiday in this west African nation, to determine whether
the six had already been released.
After a trial here in November, three Armenian pilots the government
said were hired to fly in gunmen and materiel in the plot were given
24 years each. Three other crew members were sentenced to 14 years
The alleged leader of the mercenaries, South African arms dealer Nick
Du Toit, and six other South Africans were still in detention. Du Toit
was sentenced to 34 years in prison, though he repudiated an alleged
confession that had provided the bulk of Equatorial Guinea’s case.
Equatorial Guinea opposition figure Severo Moto, in exile in Spain,
was sentenced in absentia to 63 years. Eight other opposition figures
also living in exile each were sentenced to 52 years in prison.
Equatorial Guinea alleges Mark Thatcher _ son of former British Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher _ and other, mainly British, financiers
commissioned the bid to overthrow the 25-year-old regime of Obiang and
install an opposition politician as the figurehead leader of Africa’s
No. 3 oil producer.