Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema says attempting to have Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh brought before an African court will be a political witch-hunt.
Obiang, 75, who is hosting the Gambia’s former dictator said he would analyze and assess such request with his judiciary but indicated that Jammeh may not be handed over to answer to alleged human rights abuses and crimes against the state [of The Gambia].
“Well, if there is a request to have Jammeh extradited or taken to court, there will be a need to analyze and assess the situation and I will do so with the judiciary,” said Obiang.
“But I believe we have a done deal because he left power. It is over and done with and pursuing legal action against someone who has decided to leave power will be nothing but a bad political approach.”
An international campaign has been launched to have Jammeh hauled back to The Gambia to face justice for his crimes and those committed under his regime. Obiang’s declaration goes on to show it may take years if not decades to have Jammeh in the dock.
Jammeh’s regime, in power from 1994 until his shocking defeat in the December 2016 elections, had a long track record of using arbitrary arrests, threats, enforced disappearance, and torture to silence opposition voices.
He refused to cede power forcing the country’s new leader Adama Barrow to authorize West African forces to enter the Gambia to flush Jammeh out of power.
Jammeh fled two days after his mandate expired on January 19 to Equatorial Guinea, where Obiang has given him a mansion to stay in and a land for him to continue his farming activities.
President Obiang has ruled for nearly four decades in Equatorial Guinea, a tiny country that’s too opaque to even include on transparency indexes. His son (and Vice-President) own luxury cars and homes all over the world and was convicted in absentia in France and had his assets seized.
Obiang rules the oil-rich nation and Africa’s richest country per capita with an iron-fist, amid persistent accusations of torture, extrajudicial executions, corruption, electoral fraud and even cannibalism.
President Obiang seized power in the country in 1979, overthrowing his uncle, President Francisco Macias Nguema, who was tried was tried and executed. Thousands of death and absolute followed to date.