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Equatorial Guinea President calls ‘amnesty’ for political prisoners

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 29, 2015 Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo arrives to attend the inauguration of the Nigerian President at the Eagles Square in Abuja. Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has decreed a “total amnesty” for political prisoners and opponents, a condition imposed by the opposition to participate in the national dialogue scheduled for mid-July. If it is implemented quickly, it would result in the release of 21 activists of the main opposition party, Citizens for Innovation (CI), who were sentenced in February to more than 30 years in prison, including for “sedition” . / AFP PHOTO / Pius Utomi EKPEI

Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema on Wednesday announced a “total amnesty” for all political prisoners and opposition figures banned from political activity, according to a decree read on national television.

“I grant total amnesty to all citizens condemned by the courts… for political offenses in the exercise of their activity, serving or not serving their sentence,” the presidential decree said.

The move comes after President Obiang, who has ruled the oil-rich former Spanish colony since 1979, called last month for “dialogue and political interaction” with opposition groups.

Five political parties had signalled their willingness to take part in a national dialogue in July if their security was ensured.

The amnesty “must allow wide participation of all political actors”, according to the president, and guarantee “security” for those taking part in talks with international observers present.

The amnesty will also be granted to people “deprived of their liberty or prevented from exercising their political rights,” the decree said.

Obiang’s decades in power have been strongly criticised for corruption and human-rights abuses.

His proposal for national talks came after a failed coup last December — one of more than half a dozen attempts to unseat him over the years — that was followed by a crackdown on the opposition.

The now-banned Citizens for Innovation party (CI) said Tuesday that opposition figure Juan Obama Edu, who was jailed for “sedition”, had been tortured to death in prison earlier this week.


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