The Equatorial Guinea Coup Trial Has Begun
Mark Thatcher, Entitled

Mark Thatcher, Son of Margaret Thatcher, Arrested in South Africa in Connection with Coup Plot

Check out this story in the Guardian:

Police Arrest Son of Margaret Thatcher         

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) - South African police arrested Mark Thatcher, the son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, early Wednesday on allegations he was involved in a plot to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea, police said.

Police spokesman Sipho Ngwema said Thatcher was arrested at Cape Town home and is expected to be charged with violation of the Foreign Military Assistance Act.

``We have evidence, credible evidence, and information that he was involved in the attempted coup,'' said Ngwema. ``We refuse that South Africa be a springboard for coups in Africa and elsewhere.''

Police raided Thatcher's home in the upscale suburb of Constantia shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday armed with search warrants. Investigators searched his records and computers for evidence.

Investigators believe Thatcher helped finance a plot to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea.

``We believe Mr. Thatcher assisted in finance and logistics,'' said Ngwema, who declined to elaborate.

I wonder what took them so long. Given the timing, I assume the arrest in connected to information revealed in one of the two ongoing trials of mercenaries, one in Zimbabwe and the other in Equatorial Guinea. It could also be connected to the recent raid on the PMF  International Intelligence Risk Management.

(Thanks to Charles Stross & Chris Williams!)

PS: There are several amusing graphics of Mark Thatcher on the cover of the magazine Private Eye from the 80's here.

UPDATE: Reuters is now reporting that the arrest was precipitated by Nick Du Toit's testimony in the Equatorial Guinea trial. I would think that this, by itself, would not be sufficient for the arrest, since Du Toit is testifying trying to save his own life under extremely coersive circumstances. It occurs to me that this may be part of the deal South Africa made to gain assurances from EQ that if convicted, the mercenaries would not be executed.

FURTHER UPDATE: Sir Mark had his shoes, jacket, and cell phone stolen while awaiting his bail hearing. Now he's under house arrest, though out on bail.

MEANWHILE, Jack Straw, who is in Cape Town is "keeping mum" on the subject of Thatcher's arrest.

A FURTHER THOUGHT: Earlier this month there were reports that author/poltician Jeffrey Archer was one of the coup's investors. I wonder if the Thatcher case will shed any light in the matter. (This probably means nothing, but at least one attorney at the firm that represents Archer formerly worked for the firm that represents or represented the PMF Sandline.)

Kathryn Cramer at August 25, 2004 08:09 AM | Link Cosmos | Purple Numbers  | Edit


Posted by: Hello at August 26, 2004 06:22 AM

The blog liked to above  alleges to be the diary of a South African mercenary. I hope it is fiction (see, for example "June 16, 2004: Is it OK to Kill a child? ), though I suspect that at least in part it is for real.

Posted by: Kathryn Cramer at August 26, 2004 07:38 AM

Enjoying your thorough blog coverage of the Thatcher case. 


Posted by: Ryan Schultz (Quiplash) at August 29, 2004 08:43 PM