After enthusiastically giving up his co-conspirators, including Margaret Thatcher's son Mark (read my earlier post here), British mercenary Simon Mann has been sentenced to 34 years in prison to be served in Equatorial Guinea—punishment for his leading role in a failed 2004 coup plot that would have given him and his buddies free rein to loot the impoverished country of its natural resources.
At first blush, Equatorial Guinea is not a place where you'd want to spend that kind of time. It's hot, the plumbing stinks, and your very survival would be in the hands of the same dictator you'd tried to take down... a guy, let us say, not exactly known for his commitment to human rights.
But Mann, it seems, has less to worry about than most. For whatever reason, he is proving to a popular guy with members of the government he set out to destroy.
From the BBC:
Mann seems to have struck up a cosy relationship with some members of the regime he tried to overthrow.
While in Malabo's Black Beach prison, he has apparently been paid frequent visits by Security Minister Manuel Nguema Mbo and the two have drunk wine over lunch.
The minister said Mann had lent him a copy of the Wonga Coup - an account of the plot by journalist Adam Roberts.
Mann will go to jail, but his willingness to squeal on his pals may still have its desired effect: President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Mann's erstwhile target, has left open the possibility for him to serve part of his sentence in the UK or, better yet for the jailed mercenary, to receive a presidential pardon. Meantime, though, he'll have to settle for liquid lunches in Malabo's Black Beach Prison.
Photo used under a Creative Commons license from Podknox.