December 22, 2017

Postcard for Equatorial Guinean cartoonist spending Christmas in prison

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and 18 other international organizations are launching a postcard operation with the hashtag #FreeNseRamon on social networks today to draw attention to the fact that Equatorial Guinean cartoonist Ramón Esono Ebalé is being held illegally and is spending Christmas in prison.

Known for his blog and his satirical cartoons about his country's president, Ebalé has been detained illegally in Malabo for more than three months. Drawn by Ed Hall, a member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, the postcard shows Ramon Esono Ebale drawing for freedom of information.

By circulating the postcard online with the hashtag #FreeNseRamon and by asking social network users to share it, RSF and the other organizations want to remind the world that editorial cartoonists like Ebalé are still been harassed, persecuted and sometimes jailed just for doing their job.

Arrested on 16 September in Malabo, Ebalé has been detained provisionally ever since and has still not been taken before a judge.

"The accusations of counterfeiting and money laundering brought against Ramón Esono Ebalé are just a pretext to justify his arbitrary detention," said Clea Kahn Sriber, the head of RSF's Africa desk. "These charges are out of all proportion for a cartoonist who simply returned to Malabo to renew his passport."

RSF and the 18 other organizations wrote a joint open letter to Teodoro Obiang Nguema on 15 November demanding Ebalé's release.

Equatorial Guinea is ranked 171st out of 180 countries in RSF's 2017 World Press Freedom Index.