Bubi

2006
oil on canvas
70" x 28"
Unsold
7,500 (unframed)
Bubi

EQUATORIAL GUINEA: Ethnic Bubis, the indigenous people of Equatorial Guinea's Bioko Island, have faced discrimination since the country's independence from Spain in 1968. However, nothing could prepare them for the systematic repression and torture that followed a deadly 1998 attack by radicals on a Bioko Island military barracks. The 500 arrests that followed the incident only hint at the grave human rights violations that occurred throughout the nation, as security forces beat Bubis in the street, raped women in their homes, or looked on while angry mobs did the same. In Bubi villages, homes were razed and commercial goods bound for market destroyed. Arrests were made of those even loosely affiliated with Bubi political groups. Beaten with rifles, mutilated with razor blades and denied access to medical care, many detainees suffered atrocious deaths from their injuries. Others were reportedly rendered unconscious from beatings, and then revived for further torture. Women, often held as hostages in the hopes of flushing out male relatives, suffered all of these torments as well as sexual abuse and public humiliation. A trial of 110 Bubis was widely considered to be unfair, as most of the 85 convictions were based on forced confessions. Approximately 70 of those tried were sentenced to prison terms of up to 25 years, and another fifteen given death sentences that were later commuted to life in prison. However, given the likelihood that many of the convicted will succumb to the harshness of prison conditions, Amnesty International considers their sentences nothing more than a slow execution.