Equatorial Guinean human rights defender Alfredo Okenve gets house arrest instead of award ceremony

March 17, 2019

Alfredo Okenve, a leading rights activist in Equatorial Guinea, was arrested at Malabo's airport on Friday night

AFP reported on 16 March 2019 that Alfredo Okenve, a leading human rights defender in Equatorial Guinea was arrested in the capital Malabo after travelling there to receive an award for his work, his NGO and a police source said Saturday. Okenve had arrived in Malabo on Thursday, a day ahead of a ceremony at the French Institute where he was to receive the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law from French and German ambassadors. He was arrested at Malabo airport on Friday night when he was about to board a flight to Madrid after the cancellation of the awards ceremony earlier in the day.

A leading figure in the country’s civil society movement, Okenve is one of the leaders of the Center for Studies and Initiatives for the Development of Equatorial Guinea (CEID-GE), which said he had been flown back home to the port city of Bata and placed under house arrest. The authorities “prevented him from flying to Spain,” said Mariano Nkogo, who is also a senior figure within the NGO. He said a military plane had been chartered to fly Okenve back to Bata.

His arrest was also confirmed by a police officer at the airport and by the opposition Convergence for Social Democracy (CPDS) whose members have been previously targeted in a crackdown by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has ruled the West African state for 39 years.

Friday afternoon’s award ceremony was cancelled after the Guinean government sent a formal note to the envoys’ representatives saying it did not recognise the award, a regional diplomatic source said. “Due to the lack of transparency in the awarding of this prize, the government of Equatorial Guinea cannot recognise its validity,” said the note, a copy of which was seen by AFP. The French and German embassies then postponed the ceremony. [for more on this award – authorities take note! – see: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/franco-german-prize-for-human-rights-and-the-rule-of-law]

In late October, Okenve was seized and beaten by unidentified men who left him in a remote area of Bata. He then went to Madrid to seek medical care, only returning home in mid-February.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/03/08/cartoonist-ramon-esono-ebale-freed-in-equatorial-guinea/

One Response to “Equatorial Guinean human rights defender Alfredo Okenve gets house arrest instead of award ceremony”


  1. […] The CEID’s closure follows physical assaults, arbitrary arrests and judicial persecution of the organisation’s Vice President Alfredo Okenve. The move is intended to silence independent and peaceful voices committed to defending human rights in Equatorial Guinea, and has a chilling effect on human rights defenders and CSOs in the country. See: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/03/17/equatorial-guinean-human-rights-defender-alfredo-okenve… […]


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