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Last Updated: Friday, 19 November, 2004, 01:18 GMT
Death penalty call in E Guinea
By Andrew Simmons
BBC West Africa correspondent

Nick du Toit in court
Earlier this week Nick du Toit retracted a signed confession
Equatorial Guinea's state prosecutor has called for the death penalty for a South African man accused of taking part in an alleged coup attempt.

Nick du Toit is alleged to have helped organise an attempt to overthrow President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

The call for the death sentence was made by Attorney General Jose Olo Obono when he summed up the prosecution case.

Mr du Toit, 48, is accused of leading an advance party of 19 mercenaries in an attempted coup.

Mr Obono also requested the death sentence in the case of Severo Moto, a former opposition leader now living in exile in Spain, who is being tried in his absence.

Map of South Africa
Map of South Africa
It is claimed he orchestrated the alleged plot, planning to take over power in Equatorial Guinea, Africa's third largest oil producer.

Fourteen other suspects, including Sir Mark Thatcher, the son of former UK Prime Minister Lady Thatcher, are listed in documents put before the court in Malabo.

It is alleged they helped to finance an attempted coup.

Military action

Sir Mark has not been charged by Equatorial Guinea, but extradition attempts are being considered.

He is due to reappear before a court in South Africa next week, accused of breaking the country's laws banning any involvement in foreign military action.

Sir Mark has already denied any part in an attempted coup.

The court in Malabo has now completed its sitting, and judgement is expected next week.

Nick du Toit has retracted a signed confession which he said he made because he had been tortured and feared for his life.

Mr Obono said the accused had not been mistreated and any statement to the contrary should not be admissible in the trial.

Mark Thatcher arrives at court in South Africa

E Guinea coup plot trial halted
31 Aug 04 |  Africa


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