144/95 : William A. Courson / Equatorial Guinea The Facts as submitted by the author 1. The Complainant alleges that one Mr Moto Nsa, along with 12 others, both military and civilian personnel, was tried and sentenced on charges of attempting to overthrow the Government of Equatorial Guinea and high treason. He was sentenced to imprisonment rather than the death penalty as an act of lenience on the part of the court. th 2. Mr Moto Nsa was officially arrested on 6 March 1995, but had already been imprisoned for two and a half years on charges of insulting the President. At the time of his arrest, Mr Moto Nsa was planning to participate in Equatorial Guinea's planned May 1995 municipal elections, after having led an opposition boycott of the country's first multiparty national elections, which were criticized by United Nations and European Union observers for lack of transparency and impartial administration. 3. From the time of his arrest until the trial he was denied the right to consult with the defense counsel and not permitted to examine the evidence against him. 4. Although the victim has now been released as a result of a presidential pardon, the Complainant wishes the Commission to declare that Mr Nsa's conviction and imprisonment were violations of the African Charter. The Government's Version 5. In its response to the accusations levelled against it, the Equato Guinean government asserts that human rights are fully protected by the country's constitution and according to the Government, the Complainant's accusation are based on unfounded information. It agrees that Equatorial Guinea has a legislation governing the activities of political parties, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press. 6. Furthermore, Government maintains that all ethnic groups in Equatorial Guinea live in harmony, without any discrimination; the Prime Minister as well as other members of the government belong to ethnic groups different from that of the Head of State. The impartiality of the Courts, according to him, is fully guaranteed by the laws of Equatorial Guinea. He further asserted that the law on the press and information was recently revised by the Parliament. It henceforth authorises private individuals and associations to possess their own papers and radio and television stations. According to the government all political parties have access to the media during electoral campaigns and political meetings are freely organised throughout the country. 7. According to the government, Mr Moto was assisted by three "great" lawyers during his trial. And pursuant to the practice in Equatorial Guinea, when there are loopholes in the domestic law, to ensure a proper administration of justice, the courts resort to Spanish law. It further asserted that in spite of being the leader of The Progress Party, one of the fourteen recognised political parties in Equatorial Guinea, Mr Moto was tried as an ordinary citizen and convicted for insults and endangering State security and the form of government. Finally, the Government finally emphasized that Mr Moto Nsa appealed against the sentence, of twenty eight years imprisonment imposed on him and after serving only three months in prison he was granted an amnesty. In a view of the foregoing, the Government concludes that the Complainant's accusations have no legal basis. Procedure 8. The communication is dated 5th May 1995. It was filed by Mr William Andrew Courson, member of Magnus F Hirsclifeld Centre for Human Rights, an organisation based in the US. The matter was brought before the Commission on 23rd May of the same year and on 30th May, it wrote to the Equato Guinean Government to inform it of the communication. 9. On 22nd September 1995, the Complainant wrote to the Secretariat of the Commission to inform it that Mr Moto Nsa had been released following a presidential amnesty. He however requested that his

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