If you’ve ever received a request to step up for a jailed author, artist or journalist, you might have wondered later: Was he ever freed?
In the case of Ramon Nse Esono Ebale – he certainly was and he thanks you.
In a moving letter published under the title “Artist, Finally Free, Leaves Country,” artist Ramon Esono Ebale confirms he was released after six months in prison on apparent false charges and then a three month wait for travel documents.
“Thank you for your support and encouragement during a difficult period in my life,” he began in his open letter. “I never felt alone, as I knew you believed in me and defended my innocence, even though you did not know me. I owe you more than even I can imagine.”
Esono wrote of his jail cell with thirty or more inmates in a cell built for two. “I cannot forget the moans of people being tortured in “Guantanamo,” the central jail… I vividly remember the cries of my prison companions as they were being horribly tortured by armed and masked guards.”
Some were members of the opposition “Citizens for Innovation” referred to as “broken hands” given what the intense torture sessions had done to their limbs.”
The case against Esono fell apart when the police officer who had accused him of counterfeiting 1,800 of local currency admitted making the accusation based on orders from his superiors.
“It is a huge relief that the prosecution dropped its charges against Ramon, but they should never have been pressed in the first place,” said Salil Tripathi, chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee.
“Equatorial Guinea’s government has a long record of harassing and persecuting its critics,” said Mausi Segun, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Ramón’s release is an important victory against repression.”
Tutu Alicante, director of EG Justice which promotes human rights in Equatorial Guinea, added: “Ramon’s release is a testament of the power of collective work of dozens of organizations, hundreds of artists and concerned citizens.”