Monday, August 23, 2004

Dead Men Walking

And maybe they aren't even capable of that feat at this point. I have a feeling we'll soon be getting to see what an African show trial looks like.

The trial of 14 men arrested on suspicion of plotting to topple the Equatorial Guinea president has begun in the capital, Malabo.
Eight South Africans and six Armenians have been detained since March.
A 15th defendant died in prison from what Amnesty International said was suspected torture.
"Suspected" torture? Either this was written by someone with an English feel for understatement, or we've got a comedic genius on our hands here ...
They are accused of being the advance-party for a group of 70 men whose trial in connection with the alleged plot ended in Zimbabwe last week.
The prosecutor is expected to call for the death penalty for the alleged leader of the group, Nick du Toit.
Those were the days my friends, those were the days! These guys would have been better off committing suicide at the first opportunity rather than allowing this trial to proceed to its conclusion, as there isn't a chance in hell that any of them will live out their natural lifespans. That they're being brought to trial now only suggests that they've been softened up so thoroughly that they'll even confess to having killed and eaten their own mothers if told to.

PS: It would appear that President Teodor Obiang Nguema has suddenly discovered a knack for public relations:
[Amnesty International spokesman George] Ngwa noted that treason carried a mandatory death penalty in Equatorial Guinea. However, President Obiang Nguema said in a radio broadcast on Sunday that none of the accused would face execution.
Sure, maybe they won't be "executed", but that doesn't mean these men have a prayer of surviving for very long; "shot while trying to escape", "death from cerebral malaria" and "accidentally burned to death in prison fire outbreak" aren't technically regarded as methods of execution. Still, a deft PR touch from El Presidente.