Guinea must investigate the shooting of protesters

Authorities in Guinea must urgently carry out a thorough and independent investigation into the military shooting which resulted in the death of one opposition protester and injured at least 15 others, Amnesty International said today.

A 30 year old man was shot dead from a bullet to the chest on Monday 13 April 2015 during clashes between the security forces and demonstrators at an opposition rally in the capital Conakry. 11 people, including minors, have been arrested and charged with participating in a non-authorized demonstration causing public disorder.

Law enforcement officials must apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms, which may be used only if non-violent means have proven to be ineffective. The use of such excessive force, which resulted in one death and several injuries, is deeply worrying.

said Gaetan Mootoo, Amnesty International West Africa researcher.

“The Guinean authorities must not bring back the old demons of violence. All those responsible for the excessive use of force must be clearly identified and brought to trial”.

The shooting took place during an opposition rally on 13 April protesting against a decision to delay local elections until 2016. In July 2013, opposition and government officials had previously reached an agreement to organize local elections before this year’s presidential election, which is currently planned for October.

Eyewitnesses and human rights defenders interviewed by Amnesty International after the protest said that police and gendarmes armed with guns blocked the roads leading to main business neighborhoods. Protesters were then stopped on their way by gendarmes firing tear gas without any prior warning and using live bullets while protesters burnt tires and threw stones at gendarmes.

“Protesting over elections timing is not a legitimate reason to limit the right to freedom of assembly. The Guinean authorities have an obligation to facilitate the right to peaceful assembly and refPrain from using the force against protestors,” said Gaetan Mootoo.