A Spanish judge has summoned a son of Equatorial Guinea’s president for questioning over his alleged role in the kidnap and torture of two Spanish nationals, court documents showed Tuesday.
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, 80, has ruled the oil-rich former Spanish colony since 1979, with rights groups have long accused his government of arbitrary detentions and torture.
A judge with Spain’s National Court called one of his sons, Carmelo Ovono Obiang, who heads the security service in the central African nation, for questioning on March 28.
The judge also summoned the president’s security director Isaac Nguema Endo and his Security Minister Nicolas Obama Nchama, according to a court document dated February 24 seen by AFP.
The court orders were first reported by Spain’s El Pais newspaper.
The three men are suspected of having kidnapped and tortured two Spanish nationals who opposed Obiang’s government, and who were arrested in South Sudan in 2020 and flown to Equatorial Guinea.
One of the dissidents died at a hospital in Equatorial Guinea in January.
Two other dissidents, who are Equatorial Guinea nationals living in Spain, were also allegedly kidnapped at the same time.
Spain’s National Court, which deals with major criminal cases, opened the investigation after receiving a complaint from relatives of the victims.
Equatorial Guinea’s vice president, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, who is also a son of the president, has strenuously denied the accusations and accused Spain of seeking to “interfere” in his country’s sovereignty.
It is unclear if the Equatorial Guinea officials will agree to be questioned by the court over the affair.
According to El Pais, Carmelo Ovono Obiang was under police surveillance while staying at a Madrid hotel in December but the National Court did not order his arrest.
Instead it only informed him that a lawsuit had been presented against him, prompting him to swiftly return to Equatorial Guinea, the newspaper said.
Under Obiang’s watch political dissent in Equatorial Guinea has been suppressed and the country’s oil wealth benefits an elite few, watchdogs say.
In November, he was re-elected to a sixth term with 94.9 percent of the votes cast in an election that saw a turnout of 98 percent, according to official figures.