See also:
» 30.11.2009 - Preliminary results show Obiang in landslide victory
» 29.10.2009 - Embezzlement case against Africa trio overturned
» 16.10.2009 - Obiang warns US and Europe of growing piracy in Gulf of Guinea
» 10.07.2009 - HRW report was fallacy, E/Guinea
» 09.07.2009 - HRW denounced use of oil revenues in E/Guinea
» 26.05.2009 - Equatorial Guinea denies accounts and real estate in Spain
» 02.04.2009 - Obiang warns action against the judiciary
» 19.09.2008 - UN appoints new Equatorial Guinea/Gabon conflict mediator

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Equatorial Guinea
Politics | Human rights

Possible 30 years for 'British mercenary'

afrol News, 18 June - British mercenary Simon Mann faces 30 years in Equatorial Guinea prison for his failed 2004 coup plot, if found guilty in court.

Mr Mann has admitted his own involvement in the conspiracy, though disclaiming he was the "main man" behind the plot.

He told the court that it felt as though the coup attempt was an official operation, alleging that Spain and South Africa had backed the failed coup. He also mentioned that Sir Mark Thatcher, son of former UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, as one of the plot's organisers.

Sir Mark was fined in 2005 and received a suspended sentence in South Africa for unknowingly helping to finance the coup.

"He came on board completely and became part of the management team," Mr Mann told the court, further alleging that London-based millionaire, Eli Calil, was "the boss" of the plot.

Prosecution stated that charges against Mr Mann deserved death penalty. It however said relinquishing death sentence had been a precondition of Mr Mann`s extradition.

Mr Mann (55), a former Britain's Special Air Services (SAS) officer was arrested four years ago with 64 others in Zimbabwe. He served four years in prison there, for trying to purchase weapons without a licence before being extradited to Equatorial Guinea earlier this year.

In the 1990s, Mr Mann reportedly set up a security consultancy, Executive Outcomes, to protect businesses in conflict zones. It allegedly earned millions from Angola, one of Africa's top oil producers, to guard oil installations against rebel attacks.

He is also said to have set up another private security firm, Sandline International, which is being linked to a 10-year civil war in the West African country of Sierra Leone, one of the most brutal conflicts in modern history.

Authorities in oil rich Equatorial Guinea are to seek extradition of Sir Mark for the key role he allegedly played in failed coup attempt.

The small West African country, has been ruled by President Teodoro Obiang, since seizing power from his uncle in 1979, in a military coup.

His government has been accused of widespread human rights abuses and of ruthlessly suppressing political opposition. Transparency International has put the tiny nation in its top 10 corrupt states.

The on-going trial is being held at a conference centre in capital, Malabo, amid heavy security.

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