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Equatorial Guinean prosecutor wants cartoonist released

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea’s public prosecutor has demanded the release of a cartoonist, held for more than five months, because of a “lack of evidence”.

At the start of the trial on Monday, the prosecutor Rafael Ondo Nguema told the court that due to a lack of evidence he cannot request for any “punishment” against Ramon Esono Ebale.

Ebale was arrested in mid-September accused by authorities of “money laundering and forgery”, adding counterfeit one million CFA francs notes were found in his home.

The African Union however believes the artist was arrested for his works “that regularly criticise the government.

One of Ebale’s work portrays President Obiang as an ordinary citizen, highlighting the lack of access to electricity, healthcare, education and the restriction of freedom of expression in Equatorial Guinea.

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has ruled the oil-rich central African nation since 1979.

Despite the discovery of considerable oil reserves in 1996, majority of Equatorial Guineans still live in poverty.

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