Gabeba Baderoon and PEN SA call for immediate release of Equatorial Guinean cartoonist and activist Ramón Esono Ebalé
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Gabeba Baderoon has written to the President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, calling for the release of cartoonist and activist Ramón Esono Ebalé.

Baderoon is a poet, writer and academic, and a board member of PEN South Africa.

Her letter to Mbasogo is supported by Nadia Davids, President of PEN South Africa, and PEN SA members Yewande Omotoso, Raymond Louw, Adré Marshall, Karina Szczurek, Margie Orford and Nooshin Erfani-Ghadimi.

PEN South Africa is affiliated to PEN International – a worldwide organisation that represents writers and defends free expression through the written word.

Ebalé is one of the five writers whose cases are the focus of PEN’s 36th Day of the Imprisoned Writer. Find out how you can take action for Ebalé here.

Read Baderoon’s letter, shared from PEN South Africa:

Your Excellency

As a member of the Executive Board of PEN South Africa, I wish to express my urgent concern about the arrest and continued detention of the artist Ramón Esono Ebalé and urge you to cease your investigation of him, and immediately and unconditionally release him.

On 16 September 2017, Mr Esono Ebalé was arrested in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea. While initially questioned by security agents in relation to his cartoons that are critical of President Obiang and other government officials, we have heard subsequently that Esono Ebalé is being investigated for alleged money laundering and counterfeiting money. He was presented before a judge on 20 September where he was asked about these allegations and was subsequently sent to Black Beach prison in Malabo where he is being held in preventive judicial detention while further investigations are conducted. Esono Ebalé appeared in court on 3 October and gave a statement before a judge, but according to our information, he has yet to be formally charged with an offence.

PEN International is extremely concerned over Mr Esono Ebalé’s apparent arbitrary detention in relation to his activism and work, in violation of his right to freedom of expression, and calls on the authorities in Equatorial Guinea to release him immediately and unconditionally. PEN South Africa believes that Esono Ebalé is being prosecuted for exercising his right to freedom of expression and writing critically about the government.

PEN South Africa calls for his immediate release unless clear evidence of a criminal offence is made available and he is charged and tried promptly and fairly in accordance with international fair trial standards.

Your Excellency, we call on you as the President of Equatorial Guinea not to persecute artists like Esono Ebalé who are simply practising freedom of expression. We remind you of your constitutional duty to respect the right to freedom of expression, as enshrined in the Constitution of Equatorial Guinea and as per article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Equatorial Guinea is a state party.

Yours sincerely

Gabeba Baderoon
Board Member
PEN South Africa

Supported by:

Nadia Davids
PEN South Africa

Yewande Omotoso
Executive Vice-President
PEN South Africa

Raymond Louw
PEN South Africa

Adré Marshall
Board Member
PEN South Africa

Karina Szczurek
Board Member
PEN South Africa

Margie Orford
Board Member
PEN South Africa

Nooshin Erfani-Ghadimi
Member of the Board
PEN South Africa

Categories International

Tags Adré Marshall Day of the Imprisoned Writer Gabeba Baderoon Karina Szczurek Margie Orford Nadia Davids Nooshin Erfani-Ghadimi. PEN South Africa Ramón Esono Ebalé Raymond Louw Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo Yewande Omotoso

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