The Spanish government yesterday expressed its “concern” about the arrest of the general secretary of the opposition Equatorial Guinean Convergence for Social Democracy (CPDS), Andrés Esono Ondo, and demanded that the governments of Equatorial Guinea and Chad be treated with “the maximum respect for their fundamental rights”.
Esono was arrested last Thursday by the local security forces in the city of Mongo, in Chad, when he was a speaker at the Congress of the Chadian opposition union National Union for Democracy and Renewal (UNDR), as reported by the CPDS, that alerted the international community about “this outrage to an important figure of the opposition to the regime in power in Equatorial Guinea”.
In a press release, the Government of Teodoro Obiang Nguema assured the following day – citing the “intelligence and security services of Chad” – that “the objective of the trip of the leader of the CPDS to Chad had as its sole objective (sic) the acquisition of arms, ammunition and terrorists to commit a coup d’état in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea with foreign funding “, for which he contacted “the main opposition leader of Chad, UNDR, Mr. Sade Kerdabo (sic, it’s really called Saleh Kebzabo)”.
In a statement, the Spanish government said yesterday that “the charges of which he is accused and for which he has been detained are unknown” and that “there is no evidence that he has had access to legal counsel so far”, adding that the Presidency of Equatorial Guinea has accused Esono of “crimes of extreme gravity and of having the objective of committing a coup d’état, without citing any evidence to support these accusations”.
For this reason, the Government of Pedro Sánchez moved his “serious concern about this arrest” and demanded “the Governments of Chad and Equatorial Guinea that the case of Andrés Esono be treated with the utmost respect for his fundamental rights and the principles and guarantees inherent in the rule of law”. For its part, the PSOE has also expressed concern about “the unjustified detention of Esono” and has demanded “the prompt clarification of his situation and his immediate release”.
Andrés Esono has already experienced other similar situations since he leads CPDS. In 2015, he was accused by the regime of having tried to introduce the Ebola virus in Equatorial Guinea (an accusation that was not much more than a bizarre judicial summons) and in March 2017 he was arrested at the Malabo airport when he was returning from Madrid, where he had met with political representatives. He was released after the Equatorial Guinean authorities claimed that he had been mistaken for another person, “of a similar name”, who had acquired arms in Belgium “for use in Equatorial Guinea”.