Rights group protests Spain v E Guinea match
13 November 2013, 18:15
Madrid - A Spanish human rights group called on Spain's football federation to cancel plans to play a friendly match against oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, accusing the African nation of torture and arbitrary detentions.
The Spanish Association for Human Rights (APDHE) expressed its "outright rejection" of the match to be played on Saturday in the Equatorial Guinea capital of Malabo, in a letter to Spain's football federation president, Angel Maria Villa Llona.
"We ask you to immediately suspend this football match," the APDHE said.
The government of the small west African nation had "complete scorn" for human rights, the group said in a November 11 letter, which was released to the media on Wednesday.
"It systematically practices torture and arbitrary detention and subjects all citizens, civil organizations and political formations that are not aligned to it to extreme repression," the rights group said.
Spain's football federation would share a table and tribune with authorities who had committed "aberrant" crimes, the group said, warning that as World and European champions Spain's decision provided a propaganda coup for the Equatorial Guinea government.
Equatorial Guinea generates around 95 percent of its income from oil yet many of its 700,000 inhabitants live in poverty.
It has been under President Teodoro Obiang Nguema's iron-fisted rule for 34 years.
The 71-year-old Obiang came to power in the former Spanish colony after toppling his despotic uncle in a coup in 1979 and having him shot.
He is Africa's longest-serving leader and overwhelmingly won elections earlier this year in polls that were denounced as a sham by the opposition.