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GUINEA 2021

Dozens of people arbitrarily arrested in the context of the 2020 protests against former president Alpha Condé’s candidacy and re-election for a third term were released. Several people were killed during protests on issues around mining exploitation. No one was brought to justice for the 28 September 2009 massacre. Sexual violence persisted.

Background

Following the arrest of Alpha Condé on 5 September after an assault led by the Guinean special forces, the National Committee of Reconciliation and Development (CNRD) led by Mamadi Doumbouya dismissed the Constitution and the government. A Transition Charter was issued on 27 September, announcing the elaboration of a new Constitution and the organization of elections. Mamadi Doumbouya was sworn in as president before the Supreme Court on 1 October. After 12 weeks in detention without official charge, Alpha Condé was allowed to reside at his spouse’s house.

The Ebola outbreak that emerged in mid-February was declared over in June. The curfew imposed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic was lifted on 21 October.

Arbitrary detention

After several months in arbitrary detention, dozens of opposition members and supporters and civil society activists who denounced the candidacy and/or the re-election of former president Alpha Condé for a third term were released.

On 8 May, more than 40 people who called for or participated in 2020 demonstrations to denounce Alpha Condé’s candidacy or re-election for a third term were released after charges were dropped. On 7 September, following orders by the CNRD, 79 activists and opposition members and supporters who had also been arrested were released. Among them, Oumar Sylla, one of the leaders of the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution, was sentenced on 28 January to 11 months in prison for “participating in a prohibited assembly likely to disturb public order.” He had been held in Conakry’s main prison since his arrest on 29 September 2020 while mobilizing against Alpha Condé’s candidacy for a third term. In another case, on 10 June Conakry’s Court of Appeal sentenced Oumar Sylla to three years’ imprisonment for ‘‘communication and dissemination of false information, threats of violence and death” after he denounced arbitrary arrests on the radio.

Amadou Diouldé Diallo, a reporter for state-owned radio and TV broadcaster Radio Télévision Guinéenne, spent nearly three months in pretrial detention on charges of insulting former president Alpha Condé. He was freed on 19 May after a court in Conakry fined him 5 million Guinean francs (€420) for “insulting the head of state”.

Excessive use of force and freedom of assembly

Several people were reportedly killed by defence and security forces in at least three localities during demonstrations, some of which turned violent, around issues related to mining exploitation.

On 22 April at least two people were shot dead by defence and security forces and several wounded in Kouroussa town, Kankan region, after a mob attacked the town hall and the Prefect’s residence; there had been a conflict looming between small-scale gold miners and a mining company over the exploitation of a gold mining site.

In Gaoual town, Boké region, on 22 June, at least two people were killed and several wounded when the army was deployed during demonstrations and riots against the alleged involvement of members of the defence and security forces in the management of small-scale gold mines. According to witnesses, soldiers intentionally knocked one of the two victims off a bridge.

In July, in Siguiri region, suspected Donzo hunters shot at gendarmes who had come to enforce a court order about a dispute between two villages over the operation of a small-scale mine. Thirteen gendarmes were injured, according to the authorities.

On 17 August, in Foulata town, Kankan region, defence and security forces allegedly shot and wounded several people and burnt down homes and stores, following protests against a mining company for allegedly not honouring its commitments to employ local inhabitants.

On 11 September, all demonstrations were forbidden by the CNRD until further notice.

Inhumane detention conditions

Mamadou Oury Barry, who had been in pretrial detention in Conakry’s main prison since 5 August 2020 for “assault and battery”, died on 16 January. According to the Ministry of Justice, he died “a natural death linked to a bowel obstruction and anaemia” in hospital. The public prosecutor did not allow the body to be returned to the family until 2 February, after a request was made by a lawyer on 19 January. In the weeks before, three other detainees, including supporters of the opposition party the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea, died, soon after one of them had been released and the two others had been hospitalized in very poor health. The authorities attributed the deaths to natural causes without carrying out thorough investigations. Families of the detainees had not been able to visit them in prison or hospital.

Death penalty

Although the death penalty was removed from the Criminal Code in 2016, several prisoners were still under sentence of death, including some of those sentenced in 2011 after inter-communal clashes in Galakpaye town, N’Zérékoré region.

Impunity

Despite several announcements of investigations into the killings of protesters in 2019 and 2020 during demonstrations against the change of Constitution and the election of former president Alpha Condé for a third term, very little information was made available. The minister of justice reported in June that due to lack of evidence the Court of First Instance of Mamou had acquitted those accused of the killing of a 20-year-old man in Kégnéko town, Mamou region, on 22 March 2020. On 23 October, a delegation from the CNRD met with families of those killed by defence and security forces during Alpha Condé’s rule, telling them they would receive justice.

Twelve years after 157 people were killed by defence and security forces at a stadium in Conakry on 28 September 2009 and over 100 were victims of sexual violence, the trial had still not opened, even though the investigation ended in November 2017.

Violence against women and girls

The Office for the Protection of Gender, Childhood and Morals recorded 331 cases of rape by mid-December, against 393 cases in 2019 and 374 in 2020. Despite the authorities’ and NGOs’ efforts in recent years to promote access to justice for victims of sexual violence, the practice of negotiating out-of-court settlements between the suspected perpetrator and the victim continued to hinder prosecutions.1

Right to health

The vaccination campaign against Covid-19 was launched on 5 March, targeting primarily health workers, people over 60, people with strategic jobs, and religious leaders.

On 10 August, President Alpha Condé ordered the government to ensure that all civil servants were vaccinated against Covid-19. As of 29 December, according to the National Agency of Health Security, 1,983,124 people had received their first vaccination, and 911,780 had received their second one (out of an estimated population of around 13 million).


  1. Guinea: Horrific cases of rape and murder of girls must urge authorities to strengthen their efforts to prevent and combat sexual violence”, 15 December