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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 23:02 GMT
E Guinea exile wins asylum right
Severo Moto (archive image)
Moto leads a self-proclaimed government-in-exile in Madrid
Spain has reversed its decision to deny political asylum to the Equatorial Guinea opposition leader Severo Moto.

The Supreme Court overruled a government decision to remove refugee status from Mr Moto in the wake of a failed coup attempt in 2004.

The government of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea accuses Mr Moto of involvement in the failed coup. He denies it.

Those admitting involvement include Mark Thatcher, son of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Sir Mark was fined in 2005 after pleading guilty in South Africa to unknowingly helping to finance the plot to seize power.

Mercenary

A British mercenary, Simon Mann, is due to go on trial next month in the Equatorial Guinea capital, Malabo, charged with plotting to overthrow the president.

He told a British television station on Monday that the plot did exist, but he was not the driving force behind it.

map

Mr Moto has already been sentenced to 63 years in prison, in a trial held in Equatorial Guinea in his absence.

He leads a government-in-exile based in the Spanish capital, Madrid, where he has had political asylum since 1986.

The president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang, took power in 1979, in a coup in which he killed his uncle.

Equatorial Guinea is now one of Africa's largest oil producers.



SEE ALSO
Timeline: Equatorial Guinea
26 Jan 08 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Equatorial Guinea
26 Jan 08 |  Country profiles

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