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Africa
Zimbabwe deports British 'plotter'
Ex-UK army officer to be tried in Equatorial Guinea for allegedly plotting a coup.
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2008 13:14 GMT
Mann was extradited though his final appeal
against the move was still pending [EPA]
 
A British man alleged to have masterminded a coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea has been deported from Zimbabwe to Malabo despite a pending appeal against his extradition.
 
Simon Mann was flown out of Harare before his lawyer lodged legal papers on Friday relating to a final appeal before the supreme court against his deportation.
"They deported him at night, late Wednesday night. There are affidavits to that effect," Jonathan Samkange, his lawyer, said.
 
Mann was jailed in Zimbabwe in 2004 after being convicted of seeking weapons without a licence as part of an attempt to topple the president of oil rich Equitorial Guinea.
He was rearrested in 2007 after serving his sentence on an immigration warrant.
 
Samkange said that deporting Mann without the knowledge of his lawyer was "not only mischievous but unlawful".

Earlier this week, a high court judge upheld an earlier extradition ruling by magistrates against Mann.

Samkange was shown documents on Friday, confirming that Mann had already been deported, on arriving at court to file papers relating to Mann's final appeal.

The deportation order had been already carried out at the behest of Bharat Patel, acting attorney general, who was a judge at the high court ruling.

"The attorney general is the one signed who signed this deportation order. He knew we were filing a notice of appeal but he failed to disclose that they had deported him," said Samkange.

Alleged plot

A former member of Britain's Special Air Services (SAS) elite armed force, Mann was accused of touching down at Harare to collect weapons en route to Malabo as part of the alleged plan to oust President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, .

Mann says he and his co-accused were on their way to the Democratic Republic of Congo and that they needed the weapons for a security contract at a mine.

He was sentenced to seven years in jail, but the term was later reduced.

Eleven other men are serving sentences of between 13 and 34 years in Equatorial Guinea in connection with the alleged plot.

Mark Thatcher, the son of Margaret Thatcher, former British prime minister, was arrested in August 2004 on charges that he allegedly helped finance the coup attempt.

Thatcher pleaded guilty in South Africa to unwittingly helping bankroll the plot and was fined about 400,000 euros ($510,000).

Source:
Agencies
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