April 21, 2017

UPDATE: After eight days in arbitrary detention, CEID reported that Asumu was released and received urgent medical assistance. After 16 days of illegal detention, Okenve was released after his relatives paid a "rescue" fee to the government. No charges have been filed thus far.

On the night of April 16, 2017, airport police and Equatoguinean security authorities prevented human rights activists Enrique Asumu and Alfredo Okenve from boarding a flight to Bata at the Malabo International Airport in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. Asumu and Okenve are the President and Vice President of El Centro de Estudios e Iniciativas para el Desarrollo (CEID), a local human rights organization advocating for social justice issues, and were on their way back from an event celebrating CEID’s 20th anniversary. The next day, the Minister of National Security Nicolas Obama Nchama ordered their arrest. Security authorities interrogated them for more than five hours and fined them more than 10 million CFA (approximately $16,000) for organizing the event and operating CEID related activities, despite the government’s suspension of CEID last year.

Now, other members of CEID who attended the event are concerned they will also face interrogations and arbitrary arrests. The government’s recent intimidation tactics are the latest in a series of actions targeting CEID and its work. On March 2, 2016, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Internal Affairs and Local Corporations, Clemente Engonga Nguema Onguene, ordered an indefinite suspension of CEID’s activities. According to Minister Onguene, members of CEID shared “messages aimed at inciting violence and civil disobedience among Equatoguinean youth” at a youth forum they organized in January 2016. The messages allegedly violated the country’s law on association; however, CEID argued their comments were protected under the constitutionally protected rights on freedom of expression. In September 2016, CEID resumed their activities after finding the indefinite suspension was only valid for three months.

CEID is the co-founder of the Civil Society Coordinating Committee - a national coalition of 22 nongovernmental organizations working with the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global organization that promotes “open and accountable management” of national extractive resources. Because of its suspension, CEID relinquished its role as the coalition’s Secretariat.

The World Movement for Democracy joins the international community in urging the government of Equatorial Guinea to meet the human rights standards outlined by the EITI, and end its harassment of civil society. Click here to join us in sharing a solidarity tweet!  



On the afternoon of May 3, CEID Vice-President Alfredo Okenve was released after more than 16 days of illegal detention at the central police station in Malabo. The release comes after the payment by his relatives of a "rescue" to a government that has used, of course, extortion techniques to avoid the release of Alfredo. No charges have ever been filed or any disciplinary proceedings initiated.