Simon Mann to go on trial in Malabo, Bioko, Equatorial Guinea on 17th June
Image by Podknox
Just had news of a date of 17th June for Simon Mann’s trial in Malabo, Eguitorial Guinea.
The photo above was taken from Simon Mann’s first TV interview since his abduction from Zimbabwe to Black Beach Prison, Malabo, Equitorial Guinea
Times Reports on the court proceedings today. Simon Mann names Mark Thatcher and Ely Calil as a coup plotters. Not really suprised! They did nothing to help get him out of Zimbabwe. I guess they didn’t expect him to ever get to speak publically about their involvement – 18.06.08
Shackled but smiling, Simon Mann begins trial over Equitorial Guinea coup plot The Guardian’s report on how the proceedings were carried out in Spanish which meant he couldn’t understand a word himself!. Also details of the security precautions they are taking. – 18.06.08
David Pallister reports on the trial of Simon Mann trial in Equatorial Guinea Audio Report from Malabo, Equitorial Guinea – 18.06.08
Thatcher not just an investor, but a key plotter. Also news that the timing of the coup was critical to get Spanish approval of Severo Moto. Details of South African involvement aswell "Mann said Calil had told him the coup plotters had been promised immediate diplomatic recognition by Aznar’s administration if they succeeded in replacing Obiang with Equatorial Guinea opposition figure Severo Moto". – 18.06.08
Interestingly no details of the two Spanish warships with troops onboard that were sent there to support Severo Moto if the coup suceeded?
Court case in Malabo focuses on Ely Calil’s involvement as being Equitorial Guinea coup leader and also brings in defendents involved in the continued attempts to topple the regime since Simon Mann’s arrest in 2004. – 19.06.08
The Times Online reports of rumours of a possible deal been struck for Simon’s co-operation in the trial. It seems that Equitorial Guinea sees the value in using this show trial to demonstrate to the World how it has changed over the past 4 years since the attempted coup. It has also helped clarify the true story of what was going on.
Up until now the official version has been based on evidence from a South African court and from evidence presented in Zimbabwe after their arrest at Harare Airport. Again, it could be said that the tip-off that led them into Mugabe’s hands originated from South Africa and loose talk among those approached and hired in South Africa.
The Malabo trial has also helped bring the possibility of government duplicity back into the public arena. Mann has testified that the UK, Spanish and South African governments certainly had prior knowledge of the coup attempt. This is something that had already been confirmed by other sources before the trial. – 23.06.08
David Pallister of The Guardian reports that "Simon Mann is expected to receive an exemplary heavy prison sentence in Equatorial Guinea this week, if not quite the 32 years requested by the prosecution."
There is talk in diplomatic circles that President Teodoro Obiang is looking for a way to avoid incarcerating such a high profile prisoner for long in Black Beach prison. With earnings from oil rocketing from .5bn (£18bn) in 2006, good relations with the west and pursuing the main financiers of the coup are Obiang’s twin main priorities.
"He needs a face-saving device," said one diplomat. "After 18 months or so I can see Mann being released on health grounds [he has a hernia], perhaps with a proviso that he spends some time in a UK prison."
That view is shared by some of the trial lawyers, although their time-scale for Mann’s imprisonment differs. – 23.06.08