BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 1 February 2008, 11:35 GMT
Zimbabwe deports Mann to E Guinea
Simon Mann at Zimbabwe prison - photo 2004
Mann was arrested in 2004 and again last year
Zimbabwe has extradited Briton Simon Mann, a leader of alleged mercenaries, to Equatorial Guinea to face coup plot charges, his lawyer says.

The ex-SAS officer was jailed in Zimbabwe on arms charges in 2004, and rearrested after his release last May.

On Wednesday the High Court turned down an appeal against his extradition - his lawyers argued he could face torture.

He was flown out of the country without his legal team's knowledge before they could lodge a final appeal, they said.

There has been no official confirmation of the extradition from the Zimbabwean government.

Equatorial Guinea has a poor human rights record. Amnesty International says that a German national arrested in the country over the same alleged coup plot was tortured before he died in prison.

'Affidavits'

Mann's lawyer Jonathan Samkange said he had gone to visit him in prison on Friday morning, only to be told he was no longer there.

Deporting a person at night is not only mischievous but unlawful
Jonathan Samkange
"They deported him at night, late Wednesday night," Mr Samkange said. "There are affidavits to that effect."

He said he found out about Mann's departure only after he had filed a final appeal with the Supreme Court in Harare.

"The idea was that by the time we filed a notice of appeal he would have gone," Mr Samkange said. "This was designed to defeat the notice of our appeal."

"Deporting a person at night is not only mischievous but unlawful."

Mann, 55, a former British special forces officer, was detained in 2004 when his plane landed in Zimbabwe from South Africa.

Map
He was accused of trying to fetch arms for a coup against Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema and jailed.

More than 60 men arrested with him - most of them South African citizens of Angolan origin - were released in 2005 after serving a year's sentence in Zimbabwe.

Sir Mark Thatcher, son of former UK Prime Minister now Baroness Thatcher, was fined and received a suspended sentence in South Africa for his involvement in the affair.

Another 23 people, mostly South Africans, were convicted in Equatorial Guinea itself.

One South African, Nick du Toit, remains in prison in Equatorial Guinea, serving a 34-year sentence.

In 2005, Amnesty reported that those arrested in Equatorial Guinea faced starvation, as they had been given just a cup of rice a day.

Officials in Equatorial Guinea denied those claims.

They have said Mann will get a fair trial and will not face the death penalty.

Equatorial Guinea, an oil-rich former Spanish colony, has been ruled by President Obiang since he seized power from his uncle in a coup in 1979.



SEE ALSO
Profile: Simon Mann
10 Sep 04 |  UK
Country profile: Equatorial Guinea
26 Jan 08 |  Country profiles

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific