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Simon Mann

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 18th February 2008.

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Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the apparent abduction to Equatorial Guinea of Simon Mann by the authorities in Zimbabwe; what representations the Government have made to both countries on his behalf; and what action it plans to take to secure his safe return.

Photo of Meg Munn Meg Munn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

While Simon Mann was in Zimbabwe our embassy in Harare made representations at the highest level to the Zimbabwean authorities that due legal process should be followed, and received assurances that this would be the case. In the event, Simon Mann was removed from Zimbabwe without a further appeal being heard.

Once it was confirmed that Mr. Mann had been extradited to Equatorial Guinea, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office contacted the Equatorial Guinean embassy in London on 5 February to request consular access. My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, met with the Equatorial Guinean ambassador to the UK, Mr. Agustin Nze Nfumu, on 7 February, and telephoned the ambassador on 11 February to once again request consular access to Mr. Mann.

Consular assistance to British nationals in Equatorial Guinea is provided by our deputy high commission in Lagos. In addition to my noble Friend the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown's actions, our consul in Lagos travelled to the capital, Malabo, on 5 February to seek immediate access to Simon Mann and made contact with the appropriate authorities. Access was granted on 12 February.

In seeking consular access to Simon Mann, the Government have reminded Equatorial Guinea of his right to a fair trial and of its obligation to ensure that all persons deprived of liberty shall be treated humanely and with respect for their dignity. We have received assurances to this effect.

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