Ramón Esono Ebalé, alias Jamón y Queso (Ham and Cheese), is an award-winning cartoonist and activist from Equatorial Guinea. In addition to running his satirical blog, Esono Ebalé published a graphic novel, La pesadilla de Obi (Obi’s nightmare). Esono Ebalé is a well-known critic of President Obiang and his government and uses his drawings to highlight the large levels of inequality in Equatorial Guinea and the human rights violations committed by the state.
On 16 September 2017, he was arrested in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea. While initially questioned by security agents in relation to his cartoons that are critical of President Obiang and other government officials, news outlets reported a few days later that Ebalé is being investigated for alleged money laundering and counterfeiting money. He was presented before a judge on 20 September where he was asked about these allegations and was subsequently sent to Black Beach prison in Malabo where he is being held in preventive judicial detention while further investigations are conducted. Esono Ebalé appeared in court on 3 October and gave a statement before a judge but, according to PEN’s information, he has yet to be formally charged with an offence.
PEN is extremely concerned over his apparent arbitrary detention in relation to his activism and work, in violation of his right to freedom of expression, and calls on the authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally.
Spread the word
Share details of Ramón Esono Ebalé’s imprisonment with friends and colleagues, in your local and national press, and on social media. #FreeNseRamon #ImprisonedWriter.
Please also read and share the appeal from English PEN-supported author Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel for his friend and compatriot (translated by Jethro Soutar).
Write to the authorities
Please send appeals:
- Expressing concern at the continued apparent arbitrary detention of Ramón Esono Ebalé and urging them to drop their investigation and immediately and unconditionally release him;
- Reminding them of their duty to respect the right to freedom of expression, as enshrined in the Constitution of Equatorial Guinea and as per article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Equatorial Guinea is a state party.
President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea
Mr. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
Avenida de la Libertad Malabo
Salutation: His Excellency
Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Equatorial Guinea in your country if possible. A list of embassies can be found here.