Italian businessman Roberto Berardi, former business partner of Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue ( "Teodorín," the Second Vice President and eldest son of Equatorial Guinea's president), is held in solitary confinement in Equatorial Guinea. Eloba S.A., the company that Berardi and Obiang were joint owners of, was listed by the US Department of Justice as a source of funds which Teodorín used to purchase luxury properties and Michael Jackson memorabilia (the famous "Bad Tour Glove") in California. Allegedly after inquiring about Eloba's revenues and accounts and the DOJ investigation, Berardi was incarcerated in February 2013. Photos shared by his family show lashes on Berardi's back and that he has lost significant weight; he has been suffering from illnesses reportedly including malaria and typhoid.
In November 2008, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak, said after visiting Equatorial Guinea that the "absence of an independent judiciary, endemic corruption, arbitrary detention, evidence obtained through torture and the almost total impunity for those torturing prisoners are among the factors contributing to the absence of human rights for detainees in Equatorial Guinea" and he feared prisoners who talked to him would face reprisals.
Though President Obiang promised the EU Commissioner in April 2014 that Berardi would be released, he is still held under harsh conditions.