RSF calls for Equatorial Guinean cartoonist’s immediate release
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is relieved to learn that the prosecutor’s office in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, has finally decided to drop charges against Ramón Nse Ebalé, a cartoonist who has been held since mid-September. RSF calls for his immediate release.
After more than five months in the city’s Black Beach prison, Ebalé was taken before a court in Malabo yesterday and, at the end of the hearing, the state prosecutor requested his release because of an “absence of clear evidence.” But Ebalé has not yet been freed and no date has so far been set for any further hearing in the case.
Ebalé has been held since 16 September 2017 on a charge of “forging money and money laundering." He has always denied the charge and says the real reason for his arrest was his cartoons of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
“We call for Ramón Nse Ebalé’s immediate release,” RSF said. “The state prosecutor’s request just confirms the lack of any grounds for the charges brought against him. His detention has continued for too long.”
RSF and 17 other international NGOs sent a joint open letter to the president on 15 November calling for Ebalé’s immediate release. An online campaign was then launched in December with the hashtag #FreeNseRamon.
Equatorial Guinea is ranked 171st out of 180 countries in RSF's 2017 World Press Freedom Index.