Skip to comments.'Coup plotters' face their alleged torturers as Thatcher family quits -
Posted on 08/30/2004 7:42:03 PM PDT by UnklGene
'Coup plotters' face their alleged torturers as Thatcher family quits -
By Katharine Houreld in Malabo and Christopher Munnion in Johannesburg (Filed: 31/08/2004)
Eight men accused of plotting to overthrow Equatorial Guinea's government confronted their alleged torturers yesterday in a court in the capital, Malabo.
Angered by the judge's decision to read statements the men say were made under duress, one South African defendant, Sergio Cordoso, said: "This is the first time I have seen a person questioned and taken to the torture room at the same time."
Mark Thatcher: accused He added: "I want to emphasise the person who tortured me is here in court. He was there when I was being questioned. If I am lying let me show the court who it was. I have the scars and I can show them."
No further questions were asked. Nineteen men are on trial accused of mercenary activities and a coup plot.
The eight who appeared in court yesterday included the alleged ringleader, the South African Nick du Toit. The trial began as the South African justice ministry said it was giving "urgent consideration" to a request from Equatorial Guinea to interview Sir Mark Thatcher about his alleged part in financing a coup plot - an offence under South African law. Sir Mark, 51, denies the accusation.
A ministry official said a decision on the request might be referred to the courts.
Sir Mark's wife, Diane, and their two children left their Cape Town house last night bound for the United States. The son of Lady Thatcher must remain in South Africa and is due to appear in court again in November on charges of funding part of a plot allegedly masterminded by Simon Mann, a former British SAS officer who was found guilty in Zimbabwe last week of taking part in mercenary activity.
In Pretoria, two of the alleged mercenaries arrested in Zimbabwe five months ago and freed there last week, were charged under anti-mercenary laws. Harry Carlse and Lourens Horn are due in court next month.
Both voluntarily reported to the police in what appeared to be a plea-bargain interview. Police want to turn the "small fry" in the alleged plot into state witnesses against the "big fish", said to include several well-known names in Britain.