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Equatorial Guinea abolished the death penalty this week, a move that has been described as “historic” in a nation that is infamously known as one of the world’s most authoritarian countries, Agence France-Presse reported.
Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue confirmed via social media that President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo – his father – signed a law that “totally abolished” capital punishment in the oil-rich central African nation.
The death penalty is still legal in more than 30 African countries: Roughly half of them have executed people in recent years.
Equatorial Guinea carried out its last official execution in 2014, according to human rights organizations. Even so, they have accused Obiang’s regime of forced disappearances, arbitrary detention and torture.
Obiang has been in power for more than 43 years, a world record when excluding monarchies.
Equatorial Guinea has considerable oil and gas resources, yet the World Bank reports that the vast majority of its 1.3 million people live in poverty.