According to his brother and the opposition, Guinea has detained a former justice minister after he criticized the president. They added that they had not heard from him in three weeks. The world’s longest-serving non-monarchical leader, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, 80, has ruled Equatorial Guinea with an iron grip for more than 43 years. According to one of his brothers, Ruben Monsuy, 59-year-old former justice minister Ruben Maye Nsue Mangue was detained on August 7 night in the eastern town of Mongomo after being called there for a meeting with the ruling party.
He claimed that Ruben was arrested and taken to an unknown location after refusing to apologize to the head of state and they do not know his present location. The justice ministry issued an order prohibiting the ex-minister, who is also a priest, from preaching and charging him with “inciting public disorder” five days after his arrest. On July 25, the former minister of justice called for a national conversation and criticized the president’s leadership of the nation in a Whatsapp voice message, referring to him as a “monster… holding his people prisoner.”
The arrest was confirmed by a combination of exiled opposition parties, civil society organizations, and human rights watchdogs. From 1998 to 2004, Ruben Maye served as the justice minister. In 2013, he was appointed ambassador to the United States. The coalition’s coordinator located in Europe, Guillermo Nguema Ela, told AFP over the phone that the former minister had been held “without an arrest warrant or appearing in court within 72 hours” after his detention, in violation of the law.
Joaquin Elo Ayeto, an opposition leader who spent nearly a year in jail for “defaming” the president before being freed in early 2020, said civil society was concerned. International rights organizations frequently accuse the government of the former Spanish colony of violating human rights, particularly through torture, arbitrary detentions, and forced disappearances.