Equatorial Guinea seeks Thatcher extradition

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The Independent Online

The government of Equatorial Guinea has asked South Africa to extradite Mark Thatcher, son of the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who is under house arrest for his alleged role in a coup plot against Equatorial Guinea.

A lawyer for the government, Lucie Bourthoumieu, said today that Equatorial Guinea has "strong hopes" of achieving the extradition.

South African authorities arrested Thatcher at his home in Cape Town on Wednesday in connection with the alleged foiled coup plot in this oil-rich West African nation.

Equatorial Guinea accuses Thatcher and others of being prime financiers of the alleged plot.

"South Africa is cooperating, and they are willing to fight furiously against all mercenaryism and terrorism," Bourthoumieu said.

No arrest warrants or formal charges have been announced here, normally among the first steps in a legal extradition.

Bourthoumieu said partnership in the African Union and civil conventions should make the extradition between the two countries possible.

A total of 89 men are on trial in Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea in connection with the alleged coup conspiracy. Another defendant in the case, a German man, died in custody here after what Amnesty International said was torture.

The US State Department and international rights groups accuse Equatorial Guinea of routine torture in prison and other rights abuses.