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President Obiang Frees Ex-minister Who Called Him A ‘demon’

FORMER Equatorial Guinea justice minister Ruben Maye Nsue Mangue, who had been imprisoned since August 2022 for criticising the country’s leader, has been released following a presidential amnesty. Mangue, also a pastor, was detained for calling President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo a ‘demon’ and accusing him of sequestering the nation’s people.

‘I am free,’ Mangue told AFP via telephone on Monday, following his release on Friday. He reported that he is in good health after undergoing a thorough check-up and confirmed that he had not been subjected to torture while in prison.


Mangue’s arrest stemmed from an audio recording that went viral on WhatsApp, in which he condemned the central African nation’s leader and called for a national dialogue. Despite the severity of his accusations, Mangue revealed that he was held in ‘preventive detention,’ without a trial or access to a lawyer.

In November 2022, President Obiang, who has ruled Equatorial Guinea since 1979, secured a sixth term in office with an official 94.9 percent of the vote. The election results were met with scepticism from the international community, with the United States expressing ‘serious doubts’ about the legitimacy of the outcome. Human rights organisations frequently accuse Obiang’s regime of various abuses, including arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, and torture. The government has consistently denied these allegations.

Mangue’s release comes amid ongoing scrutiny of Equatorial Guinea’s human rights record. Rights groups have long criticised the Obiang administration for its harsh treatment of political opponents and suppression of free speech. Mangue’s imprisonment and subsequent release highlight the country’s contentious political climate and the international community’s concerns about human rights violations.

The amnesty granted to Mangue may signal a strategic move by Obiang to mitigate criticism and improve his government’s image on the global stage. However, it remains to be seen whether this will lead to substantive changes in the country’s approach to political dissent and human rights.

The international community will likely continue to monitor Equatorial Guinea closely, particularly in light of Mangue’s allegations and the broader accusations against the Obiang regime. Mangue’s case serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by those who dare to speak out against entrenched power in authoritarian regimes.

As Mangue resumes his life outside prison, his future actions and the government’s response will be critical indicators of the direction Equatorial Guinea may take regarding political freedom and human rights. For now, Mangue’s release offers a glimmer of hope for other political prisoners and activists in the country.

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