Fransisco Macias Nguema

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Francisco Macías Nguema was born 1st January 1924, in the Woleu Nteu province of Gabon. In 1951, he gained a post as an assistant translator in the Racial Court of Mongomo.

Macías Nguema was the first president of the newly independent Equatorial Guinea in 1968. After his election, on 29 September 1968, he established a single-party system and seized all powers, including the legislature and the judiciary. As early as 1969, Macías Nguema unleashed a campaign to persecute his political opponents who where arrested, their goods looted and extorted. A fierce political repression was implemented, in particular through the terrible “Youth on the March with Macías” militia who was responsible for numerous atrocities, including massacre of civilian population, torture, looting and burning of villages.

The country felt under a brutal and cruel dictatorship. On 14 July 1972, Macías Nguema was named president for Life and initiated an extreme cult of personality, proclaiming himself as the “Unique Miracle”.

During his bloody regime, systematic human rights violations were committed such as arbitrary detention, persecution, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments, and extrajudicial execution of “subversive” elements. He introduced forced labour for all citizens over 15. He banned all private education as “subversive”. His persecution against intellectual drained the educated class out of the country. Approximately one third of the population was either exiled or murdered. His human right abuses were denounced by the UN and by the European Commission, as well as by several NGOs.

He was overthrown on 3 August 1979 by a military coup led by his nephew, Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

Legal Procedure

The Supreme Military Council established a Special Military Tribunal (SMT) to judge Macías Nguema and ten of his collaborators for the crimes committed between 5 march 1969 and 18 August 1979. The trial started on 24 September 1979.

Macías Nguema as the principal offender, and the ten other defendants as accomplices, were accused of genocide, mass murder, embezzlement of public funds, material injury, systematic violations of human rights, and treason. It was established by the SMT that most of the assassinations committed by the regime occurred among the political prisoners. The SMT also demonstrated the systematic use of torture in the prison, as well as the forced labour, the arbitrary detention, the looting and burning of villages and the forcible transfer of civilian population.

Macías Nguema denied all charges. His lawyer pleaded that he was only guilty of acts of omission, arguing that his ten co-accused were the one responsible for acts of torture, extrajudicial execution or persecution. He asked for his acquittal.

The state prosecutor requested the death penalty for Macías Nguema, thirty years in prison for five defendants and year of prison for the remaining four accused.

On 29 September 1979, the SMT delivered its verdict: Macías Nguema and six of his co-defendants were sentenced to death (Pastor Nsué, Salvador Ondo Ela, Fortunato Nsogo, Eduardo Nguema Edu, Miguel Eyegue, Bienvenido Micha Nsué).

With no higher court available to hear appeals, the decision of the SMT was final. Macías Nguema and the six other defendants sentenced to death were executed at 6 pm on the same day.