The former SAS officer Simon Mann is to go on trial in Equatorial Guinea, charged with plotting to overthrow the president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the country’s government said yesterday.
In its first official acknowledgment of the mercenary’s extradition transfer from Zimbabwe last week, the government said Mann would be tried for his "abortive mercenary coup attempt … in 2004". The news came as law lords in London refused to continue hearing a case brought against Mann, because lawyers were not being allowed access to him. Nine law lords adjourned the case indefinitely unless the oil-rich state agreed to abide by assurances given on Wednesday that Mann’s lawyers would have access. Equatorial Guinea is appealing to the Lords over a refusal by the courts to allow it to bring a damages action over the failed coup. Mann, its alleged leader, was secretly flown out of Harare on Friday after his appeal against extradition was refused. The British government was yesterday urged to take tough action. Tory front bencher Julian Lewis said: "He has completed his jail sentence in Zimbabwe but has been transferred by the Mugabe regime to a potentially terrible fate in Equatorial Guinea."
Mann was arrested in Harare in 2004 as his plane, carrying 67 South African mercenaries, landed to pick up weapons. He served four years in prison in Zimbabwe and was immediately rearrested on his release last year because of the extradition warrant from Equatorial Guinea.