Simon Mann

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Simon Mann
Simon Mann (6357724617).jpg
Born (1952-06-26) 26 June 1952 (age 66)
Aldershot, England, UK
AllegianceFlag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Service/branch Scots Guards
22 Special Air Service
Battles/wars 1991 Gulf War
Working for private military companies:
Bougainville Uprising
Sierra Leone Civil War
2004 Equatorial Guinea coup d'état attempt
Relations George Mann (father)
Frank Mann (grandfather)
Other workHas worked for a number of private military corporations including Sandline International

Simon Francis Mann (born 26 June 1952) is a former British Army officer and mercenary. He served part of a 34-year prison sentence in Equatorial Guinea for his role in a failed coup d'état in 2004, before receiving a presidential pardon on humanitarian grounds on 2 November 2009. [1]

British Army land warfare branch of the British Armed Forces of the United Kingdom

The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.

Mercenary soldier who fights for hire

A mercenary is an individual who is hired to take part in a conflict but is not part of an army or other-governmental organisation. Mercenaries fight for money or other forms payment rather than for political interests. In the last century, mercenaries have increasingly come to be seen as less entitled to protections by rules of war than non-mercenaries. Indeed, the Geneva Conventions declare that mercenaries are not recognized as legitimate combatants and do not have to be granted the same legal protections as captured soldiers of a regular army. In practice, whether or not a person is a mercenary may be a matter of degree, as financial and political interests may overlap, as was often the case among Italian condottieri.

Equatorial Guinea country in Africa

Equatorial Guinea, officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, is a country located on the west coast of Central Africa, with an area of 28,000 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi). Formerly the colony of Spanish Guinea, its post-independence name evokes its location near both the Equator and the Gulf of Guinea. Equatorial Guinea is the only sovereign African state in which Spanish is an official language. As of 2015, the country had an estimated population of 1,222,245.

Contents

Mann was extradited from Zimbabwe to Equatorial Guinea on 1 February 2008, [2] having been accused of planning a coup d'état to overthrow the government by leading a mercenary force into the capital Malabo in an effort to overthrow President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Charges in South Africa of aiding a coup in a foreign country were dropped on 23 February 2007, [3] but the charges remained in Equatorial Guinea, where he had been convicted in absentia in November 2004. He lost an extradition hearing to Equatorial Guinea after serving three years of a four-year prison sentence in Zimbabwe for the same crimes and being released early on good behaviour. [4]

Malabo Place in Bioko Norte, Equatorial Guinea

Malabo is the capital of Equatorial Guinea and the province of Bioko Norte. It is located on the north coast of the island of Bioko, formerly known by the Bubis, its indigenous inhabitants, as Etulá, and as Fernando Pó by the Europeans. The city has a population of approximately 187,302 inhabitants.

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo Equatoguinean president

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is an Equatoguinean politician who has been President of Equatorial Guinea since 1979. He ousted his uncle, Francisco Macías Nguema, in an August 1979 military coup and has overseen Equatorial Guinea's emergence as an important oil producer, beginning in the 1990s. Obiang was Chairperson of the African Union from 31 January 2011 to 29 January 2012. He is the second longest-serving non-royal national leader in the world, after Paul Biya of Cameroon.

Zimbabwe republic in southern Africa

Zimbabwe, officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique. The capital and largest city is Harare. A country of roughly 16 million people, Zimbabwe has 16 official languages, with English, Shona, and Ndebele the most commonly used.

Upon Mann's arrival in Equatorial Guinea for his trial in Malabo, public Prosecutor Jose Olo Obono said that Mann would face three charges – crimes against the head of state, crimes against the government, and crimes against the peace and independence of the state. [5] On 7 July 2008, he was sentenced to 34 years and four months in prison by a Malabo court. [6] He was released on 2 November 2009, on humanitarian grounds. [7] [8]

Compassionate release is a process by which inmates in criminal justice systems may be eligible for immediate early release on grounds of "particularly extraordinary or compelling circumstances which could not reasonably have been foreseen by the court at the time of sentencing". Compassionate release procedures, which are also known as medical release, medical parole, medical furlough and humanitarian parole, can be mandated by the courts or by internal corrections authorities. Unlike parole, compassionate release is not based on a prisoner's behavior or sentencing, but on medical or humanitarian changes in the prisoner's situation.

Early life

Simon Mann's father, George, captained the England cricket team in the late 1940s and was an heir to a stake in the Watney Mann brewing empire that closed in 1979, having been acquired by Grand Metropolitan (which, in 1997, became Diageo plc on its merger with Guinness). His mother is South African. [ citation needed ]

George Mann (cricketer) English Test and County cricketer

Francis George Mann, was an English cricketer, who played for Cambridge University, Middlesex and England. He was born at Byfleet, Surrey and died at Stockcross, Berkshire.

England cricket team Sports team

The England cricket team represents England and Wales in international cricket. Since 1997 it has been governed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), having been previously governed by Marylebone Cricket Club from 1903 until the end of 1996. Until 1992, Scotland was also included in the England team. England, as a founding nation, is a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) with Test, One Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International (T20I) status.

Grand Metropolitan

Grand Metropolitan plc was a leisure, manufacturing and property conglomerate headquartered in England. The company was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index until it merged with Guinness plc to form Diageo in 1997.

Military career

After leaving Eton College, Mann trained to be an officer at Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Scots Guards on 16 December 1972. [9] By 1976 he held the rank of Lieutenant. [10] He later became a member of the SAS and served in Cyprus, Germany, Norway and Northern Ireland before leaving the forces in 1985. He was re-called to action from the reserves for the Gulf War.

Eton College British independent boarding school located in Eton

Eton College is a 13–18 independent boarding school and sixth form for boys in the parish of Eton, near Windsor in Berkshire, England. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor, as a sister institution to King's College, Cambridge, making it the 18th-oldest Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference school.

Royal Military Academy Sandhurst British Army officer initial training centre

The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, commonly known simply as Sandhurst, is one of several military academies of the United Kingdom and is the British Army's initial officer training centre. It is located in the town of Sandhurst, Berkshire, though its ceremonial entrance is in Camberley, southwest of London. The Academy's stated aim is to be "the national centre of excellence for leadership". All British Army officers, including late-entry officers who were previously Warrant Officers, as well as other men and women from overseas, are trained at The Academy. Sandhurst is the British Army equivalent of the Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, Royal Air Force College Cranwell, and the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines.

Scots Guards part of the Guards Division;  Foot Guards regiment of the British Army

The Scots Guards (SG), part of the Guards Division, is one of the Foot Guards regiments of the British Army. Their origins lie in the personal bodyguard of King Charles I of England and Scotland. Its lineage can be traced back to 1642, although it was only placed on the English Establishment in 1686. The Regiment is the oldest formed Regiment in the Regular Army in service today.

Post-military career

Mann then entered the field of computer security; however, his interest in this industry lapsed when he returned from his service in the Gulf and he entered the oil industry to work with Tony Buckingham. Buckingham also had a military background and had been a diver in the North Sea oil industry before joining a Canadian oil firm. In 1993, UNITA rebels in Angola seized the port of Soyo, and closed its oil installations. The Angolan government under Jose Eduardo dos Santos sought mercenaries to seize back the port and asked for assistance from Buckingham who had by now formed his own company. [11]

Computer security, cybersecurity or information technology security is the protection of computer systems from theft or damage to their hardware, software or electronic data, as well as from disruption or misdirection of the services they provide.

Anthony Leslie Rowland "Tony" Buckingham is a former North Sea oil-rig diver and is currently an oil industry executive with a significant share holding in Heritage Oil Corporation. Heritage is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange since 1999. In 2008, Heritage listed on the London Stock Exchange. Buckingham's direct and indirect share holding is estimated to represent 33% of Heritage. This share was reduced in November 2007 via a share placement made through JP Morgan and Canaccord.

Professional diving Underwater diving where divers are paid for their work

Professional diving is diving where the divers are paid for their work. There are several branches of professional diving, the best known of which is probably commercial diving and its specialised applications, offshore diving, inshore civil engineering diving, marine salvage diving, HAZMAT diving, and ships husbandry diving. There are also applications in scientific research, Marine archaeology, fishing and aquaculture, public service and law enforcement and military service. Any person wishing to become a professional diver normally requires specific training that satisfies any regulatory agencies which have regional or national authority, such as US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive or South African Department of Labour. Due to the dangerous nature of some professional diving operations, specialized equipment such as an on-site hyperbaric chamber and diver-to-surface communication system is often required by law.

Sandline International

Mann went on to establish Sandline International with fellow ex-Scots Guards Colonel Tim Spicer in 1996. The company operated mostly in Angola and Sierra Leone, but in 1997 Sandline received a commission from the government of Papua New Guinea to suppress a rebellion on the island of Bougainville and the company came to international prominence, but received much negative publicity following the Sandline affair. Sandline International announced the closure of the company's operations on 16 April 2004. In an interview on the Today Programme , Mann indicated that the operations in Angola had netted more than £10,000,000. [12]

Equatorial Guinea coup attempt

On 7 March 2004, Mann and 69 others were arrested in Zimbabwe when their Boeing 727 was seized by security forces during a stop-off at Harare's airport to be loaded with £100,000 worth of weapons and equipment. The men were charged with violating the country's immigration, firearms and security laws and later accused of engaging in an attempt to stage a coup d'état in Equatorial Guinea. Meanwhile, eight suspected mercenaries, one of whom later died in prison, were detained in Equatorial Guinea in connection with the alleged plot. Mann and the others claimed that they were not on their way to Equatorial Guinea but were in fact flying to the Democratic Republic of Congo to provide security for diamond mines. Mann and his colleagues were put on trial in Zimbabwe, and, on 27 August, Mann was found guilty of attempting to buy arms for an alleged coup plot and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment. [13] 66 of the others were acquitted. [14]

On 25 August 2004, Sir Mark Thatcher, son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was arrested at his home in Cape Town, South Africa. He eventually pleaded guilty (under a plea bargain) to negligently supplying financial assistance for the plot. [15] The 14 men in the mercenary advance guard that were caught in Equatorial Guinea were sentenced to jail for 34 years. [16]

Among the advance guard was Nick du Toit who claimed that he had been introduced to Thatcher by Mann. Investigations later revealed in Mann's holdings' financial records that large transfers of money were made to du Toit, as well as approximately US$2 million coming in from an unknown and untraceable source. On 10 September Mann was sentenced to seven years in jail. His compatriots received one-year sentences for violating immigration laws and their two pilots got 16 months. The group's Boeing 727 was seized, as well as the US$180,000 that was found on board the plane. [ citation needed ]

Charges dropped and extradition

On 23 February 2007, charges were dropped against Mann and the other alleged conspirators in South Africa. Mann remained in Zimbabwe, where he was convicted of charges from the same incident. [3] On 2 May 2007 a Zimbabwe court ruled that Mann should be extradited to Equatorial Guinea to face charges, although the Zimbabweans promised that he would not face the death penalty. His extradition was described as the "oil for Mann" deal, in reference to the large amounts of oil that Mugabe has managed to secure from Equatorial Guinea. The Black Beach prison in Equatorial Guinea, where Mann was sent, is notorious for its bad conditions. Mann lost his last appeal against the decision to extradite him. [5] [17] In a last-ditch effort on 30 January 2008, Mann tried to appeal the judgment to the Zimbabwean Supreme Court. [18] The following day, Mann was deported to Equatorial Guinea in secret, leading to claims by his lawyers that the extradition was hastened to defeat the possibility of appeal to the Supreme Court. [19] [20]

Response by UK Parliamentarians

Concern for Mann's plight was raised in the UK Parliament in the year of his arrest in Zimbabwe by three Conservative Members of Parliament. [21] [22] [23] During the two years after the government of Equatorial Guinea applied for his extradition, three further Conservative Party MPs submitted written questions. [24] [25] [26]

The sudden extradition drew the greatest response. Julian Lewis said in Parliament:

That position was supported by three other Conservative MPs during the debate. [28] [29] [30] Written questions were submitted by a fourth. [31]

There was a request that the United States administration, which had access to Simon Mann in Black Beach Prison on 6 February 2008, exert its influence "to secure [his] safe return". [32] UK officials were granted access to him on 12 February 2008. [33] Labour and other parties expressed little concern about Mann or the others. The only non-Conservative Party MP to submit a question in Parliament about him was Vince Cable, [34] although an Early Day Motion about his treatment in prison received some cross-party support. [35]

On 8 March 2008, Channel 4 in the UK won a legal battle to broadcast an interview with Mann in which he named British political figures, including Ministers, alleged to have given tacit approval to the coup plot. [36] In testimony he spoke frankly about the events leading to the botched attempt to topple Equatorial Guinea's president. [36]

Despite their charges being unrelated, Mann was tried alongside six Progress Party of Equatorial Guinea activists being held on weapons charges, including opposition leader Severo Moto's former secretary Gerardo Angüe Mangue. [37] On 7 July 2008, Mann was sentenced by an Equatoguinean court to more than 34 years in jail. [6]

Release

On 2 November 2009 he was given "a complete pardon on humanitarian grounds" by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema. [7] He was back in England by 6 November. [8] He lives in the New Forest. [38]

Memoirs

Mann's memoir, Cry Havoc, was published in 2011, to mixed reviews. [41] [42]

See also

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The politics of Equatorial Guinea take place in a framework of a presidential republic, whereby the President is both the head of state and head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Chamber of People's Representatives

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References

  1. Haroon Siddique and Giles Tremlett (2 November 2009). "British coup plot mercenary Simon Mann has been pardoned". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 November 2009.
  2. Andy McSmith (2 February 2008). "Zimbabwe sends British mercenary to face the despot he plotted to overthrow". The Independent. London. Retrieved 17 June 2008.
  3. 1 2 "SA court drops coup plot charges". BBC News. 23 February 2007. Retrieved 17 June 2008.
  4. Kim Sengupta (11 May 2007). "Coup plotter faces life in Africa's most notorious jail". London: pub. Retrieved 17 June 2008.
  5. 1 2 "UK mercenary on trial in Equatorial Guinea". BBC News. 17 June 2008. Retrieved 17 June 2008.
  6. 1 2 Mann jailed for Eq. Guinea coup plot, Reuters, 7 July 2008
  7. 1 2 Aislinn Laing (3 November 2009). "British mercenary Simon Mann receives presidential pardon". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  8. 1 2 "Simon Mann returned to England", 6 November 2009
  9. "No. 45892". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 January 1973. p. 1351.
  10. "No. 47083". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 December 1976. p. 16439.
  11. Barlow, Eeben (November 2008). "Perpetuating Disinformation". Eeben Barlow's Military and Security Blog.
  12. "The Today Programme, BBC Radio 4".|access-date= requires |url= (help)
  13. "'Mercenary leader' found guilty". BBC News. 27 August 2004. Retrieved 17 June 2008.
  14. "Zimbabwe jails UK 'coup plotter'". BBC News. 10 September 2004. Retrieved 17 June 2008.
  15. Russell Miller (8 June 2008). "Mark Thatcher: Man on the run". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 17 June 2008. in January 2005 Thatcher pled guilty in South Africa, after a plea bargain, to "unwittingly" abetting the coup. He was fined 3 million rand (£266,000), given a suspended four-year jail term, and obliged to leave South Africa, his home for a decade.
  16. "Coup plotters jailed in Equatorial Guinea". BBC News. 26 November 2004. Retrieved 17 June 2008.
  17. "Mann in the middle of two African dictators" Archived 3 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine . Hugh Russell, The First Post, 2 May 2007.
  18. "BBC NEWS - Africa - Mann loses extradition appeal" . Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  19. "Zimbabwe deports Mann to Eq. Guinea". BBC News. 1 February 2008. Retrieved 17 June 2008.
  20. David Pallister (5 February 2008). "Zimbabwe accused as Briton sent to Equatorial Guinea jail: Guardian Unlimited". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 February 2008.
  21. Henry Bellingham Debates, 18 March 2004 col. 449 Business of the House
  22. Peter Bottomley Written answers, 20 May 2004 col. 1168W Foreign and Commonwealth affairs
  23. Hugo Swire Written answers, 9 December 2004 col. 730W Foreign and Commonwealth affairs: Simon Mann
  24. Ben Wallace Written answers, 5 June 2006 col. 317W Foreign and Commonwealth affairs – Equatorial Guinea
  25. James Arbuthnot Written answers, 14 December 2006 col. 1302W Foreign and Commonwealth affairs: Simon Mann
  26. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Written answers, 7 July 2007 col. 1005W Foreign and Commonwealth affairs: Simon Mann
  27. Julian Lewis Debates, 7 February 2008 col. 1134 Business of the House
  28. John Whittingdale Debates, 7 February 2008 col. 1137 Business of the House
  29. Richard Benyon Debates, 7 February 2008 col. 1138 Business of the House
  30. Mark Harper Debates, 7 February 2008 col. 1139 Business of the House
  31. Iain Duncan Smith Written answers, 18 February 2008 col. 181W Foreign and Commonwealth affairs – Simon Mann
  32. Julian Lewis Written answers, 18 February 2008 col. 180W Foreign and Commonwealth affairs: Simon Mann
  33. Earl Cathcart Lords Written answers, 20 February 2008 col. WA66 House of Lords – Equatorial Guinea: Simon Mann
  34. Vince Cable Written answers, 21 February 2008 col. 180W Foreign and Commonwealth affairs: Equatorial Guinea: Prisoners
  35. "EDM: Conduct of Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea towards Simon Mann". UK Parliament. 6 May 2008.
  36. 1 2 "I was not the main man", Jonathan Miller, Channel 4, 11 March 2008.
  37. "Equatorial Guinea". Amnesty International. Archived from the original on 17 December 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  38. "The homecoming of Simon Mann". The Independent. 2009-11-04. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  39. "Simon Mann". IMDb. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  40. "BBC Drama – Coup!". BBC. 30 June 2006. Retrieved 17 June 2008.
  41. Tim Butcher, Daily Telegraph, 7 November 2011.
  42. Anthony Mockler, The Spectator, 26 November 2011.

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