Guinea 2017/2018
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Guinea 2017/2018

The security forces continued to use excessive force against demonstrators. Journalists, human rights defenders and others expressing dissent were arbitrarily arrested. Impunity was widespread. The right to adequate housing was not fulfilled.

Background

The postponement of local elections until February 2018, along with speculation about whether President Condé would run for a third term, led to social and political tensions.

Freedom of assembly

At least 18 people were killed and dozens were injured during demonstrations. In February, seven people were killed in the capital, Conakry, during protests connected to a strike over the authorities’ decision to review teachers’ terms and conditions, and to school closures. The security forces dispersed the demonstrators with tear gas, batons and live ammunition.

On 20 February, the police arrested seven human rights defenders of the Voice of the People movement who had organized a sit-in in Conakry calling for schools to reopen. They faced charges of “disturbing public order”, later amended to “participating in an unlawful assembly”, and were released the same evening. Three days after his release, national television journalist Hassan Sylla − one of the seven − was suspended from his job for six months for gross misconduct; no explanation was given.

Security forces used live ammunition during violent protests against poor living standards in the Boké region in April, May and September. At least four people died from gunshot wounds.

On 22 August, former soldier and trade unionist Jean Dougou Guilavogui was arrested by gendarmes in Matoto, a Conakry neighbourhood, and taken to a gendarmerie detention centre. He was charged with “participating in an unlawful assembly” and was detained without trial at the Maison centrale, Conakry’s main prison, until his release on bail on 21 December.

Freedom of expression

Journalists, human rights defenders and others expressing dissent were beaten and arbitrarily detained. At least 20 people were arrested solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and 20 others were subjected to police violence.

In February, Radio Lynx FM reporter Mariam Kouyaté was arrested by security agents as she investigated health services at the Ignace Deen Hospital in Conakry. She was questioned at a police station after refusing to hand over her press badge and recording equipment, and released the same day without charge. In May, Gangan TV journalist Aboubacar Camara was beaten by gendarmes as he filmed a land dispute in a Conakry suburb where he believed the security forces were using excessive force. The officers forced him into their car, took him to the gendarmerie and released him later the same day after deleting his recordings.

In June, the High Authority of Communication suspended Espace FM radio presenter Mohamed Mara for one month on grounds that he had used “insulting” language during a radio debate on polygamy. In November, the Authority ordered that the radio station be taken off air for one week after the station discussed under-resourcing in the army which the authorities claimed could undermine national security and morale among the armed forces. In July, National Television suspended Alia Camara, one of their journalists, for criticizing the low pass rate in baccalaureate examinations.

On 27 June, gendarmes arrested guinéematin.com journalist Amadou Sadio Diallo in Lélouma for “disturbing public order” after he published what the authorities described as “false news” about a possible cholera outbreak. He was released the following day.

On 30 October, four Gangan TV journalists were arrested by gendarmes in Matam, a neighbourhood of Conakry, and charged with publishing false information and offending the head of state by spreading rumours of President Condé’s death. Three of them were released hours later and one was released the following day. At least 18 journalists who gathered in solidarity with the arrested journalists at the Matam gendarmerie were beaten and had their equipment broken by security forces.

Legal developments

In June, the National Assembly adopted a new Military Code of Justice, which if promulgated would effectively abolish the death penalty. The Code also contained provisions that could undermine the rights to fair trial and justice, including by allowing the trials of civilians before military courts.

Impunity

In February, an Anti-Crime Brigade captain in Kipé, a neighbourhood of Conakry, was arrested and charged with torturing a man in police custody in March 2016. At least 10 other gendarmerie and police officers were suspended over the incident, but were not brought to justice.

There was progress in the trial proceedings relating to the killing of over 150 peaceful demonstrators and the rape of at least 100 women in the Conakry Stadium in 2009. In March, Aboubacar Sidiki Diakité was extradited to Guinea from Senegal after being at large for several years, and faced charges in connection with the Stadium event. He was the former aide to Moussa Dadis Camara (leader of the military junta in 2009). Several people charged in connection with the killings and rapes retained influential positions, including Mathurin Bangoura, Moussa Tiégboro Camara and Claude Pivi who were senior officials in the military junta at the time. In November, the investigating judges announced that the judicial investigation had been completed; however, none of the suspected perpetrators had been brought to trial by the end of the year.

In September, a group of victims filed a lawsuit against Sékouba Konaté, who served as Minister of Defence in 2009, as well as transitional President between 2009 and 2010.1

There was no progress in the judicial proceedings against security force members for the human rights violations committed during demonstrations in Conakry between 2011 and 2017, in Zogota in 2012 and during the occupation by the security forces of the village of Womey in 2014.

Right to housing

In August, at least 10 people, including two children, were killed in a landslide at a rubbish dump site at Dar-Es-Salam, a neighbourhood of Conakry. In September, the government spokesperson acknowledged a failure in the sanitation services. The National Director of Humanitarian Actions at the Ministry of Territorial Administration said that the remaining inhabitants should be evicted immediately.

  1. Guinea: 8 years later, justice for massacre needed (Press release, 27 September)

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