Friends: RFI has a more complete version of the interview, and I have updated this note accordingly.)
On January 17, President Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea gave an interview to France 24 and Radio France Internationale (RFI). The video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hLFUHsbNlg&feature=youtu.be A more complete RFI audio recording is at http://www.rfi.fr/emission/20180117-guinee-equatoriale-obiang-nguema-aide-france-enquete-coup-etat-tentative?ref=tw_i
Please find below the excerpts, beginning at 15’11 of the RFI audio [11’40” on France 24 but with several sentences omitted] relating to ex-President Yahya Jammeh. The original French (with several grammatical errors) is followed by an English translation.
By Reed Brody
Christophe Boisbouvier RFI: Mr. President, in the name of hospitality, you welcomed just a year ago here in Malabo the former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, but in his country he is accused of many crimes, very serious crimes. serious. So, in the name of African solidarity, would you be ready, if the time came, to put him at the disposal of an African court, as has already done in the case of the former Chadian President Hissène Habré?
President Obiang: Well. I think that the state concerned has to send me the investigation. I think that firstly the thing you have to congratulate is the decision of Equatorial Guinea to take in the former president of Gambia because it was a moment to save the country from war … because the ECOWAS force was going to occupy [the country] , there perhaps would have been a bloodbath for the citizens of Gambia. Because the outgoing president was ready to fight, to struggle. I [acted] because he was a person I knew. I spoke with him by phone, I told him he had to give up power in order to avoid the bloodbath.
RFI: So that’s the past, that was a year ago, but for the future-
Obiang: Yes, all right, but if there is a request, I will analyze it with my lawyers.
RFI: So, you don’t rule it out, it’s possible. It’s a possibility you would consider if Gambia, if ECOWAS, asked you?
Obiang: Fortunately, I received a letter from ECOWAS exonerating President Yahyeh Jammet (sic); as a citizen of Gambia, when he wants to return to that country, he will return. But I am not aware of the judgment about which you are now telling me. But I think what we have to do …. he gave up power, it’s over. But to prosecute someone who took the decision to give up power might be a bad political idea.
Marc Perelman France 24: That means that you did not guarantee him impunity, immunity?
Obiang: No, no, no. I am saying that I would like to see the judgment against him, I would like to receive the indictment, I will examine it, consider it, with my lawyers.