Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has pardoned 81 prisoners, including 30 political opponents jailed for sedition, according to a decree seen by AFP on Thursday.

“We grant pardons to people condemned, or serving sentences for offences against the government, against public order or against recognised authorities,” said the presidential decree dated Wednesday.

Those listed, including 30 opponents sentenced to more than 30 years in jail, remained behind bars on Thursday.

Among them is Jesus Mitogo, the sole parliamentary deputy of the opposition Citizens for Innovation (CI) party which was dissolved in February.

Mitogo was convicted that month, along with fellow CI militants, for “sedition, public disorder, attacks on authority and serious injuries,” following clashes during legislative elections last November.

He voiced concern that the president would never fulfil his July promise of a “total amnesty” to all political prisoners.

The CI party considers the detention of its militants to be illegal and claims they have been mistreated and tortured.

Two opponents of the regime Evaristo Oyaga Sima and Juan Obama Edu, died in prison, this year after being tortured, according to CI, a claim the government denies.

President Nguema, who has ruled the small, oil-rich state with an iron fist since 1979, issued the pardons to mark his country’s 50th anniversary of independence from former colonial power Spain.

The country has closed its borders ahead of Friday’s celebrations which will see several heads of state converge on the capital Malabo.

Spain will be represented by its secretary of state for external cooperation.

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