In November 1981, the Government of the Popular and Revolutionary Republic of Guinea accepted a request by Amnesty International to undertake a mission to discuss its concerns regarding violations of human rights in Guinea.
For many years Amnesty International had wanted to establish direct contact with the Guinean authorities, given the gravity of its concerns and its clesire to obtain information regarding the judicial statue and fate of large numbers of individuels subjected to political imprisonment, which had hitherto received no official publication. Amnesty International also wanted to make the authorities familier with its mandate and to impress upon them the impartial quality of its activities worldwide. This objective appeared particularly necessary, as the authorities had publicly stated in 1978 their conviction that Amnesty International's activities were politically biased.
An Amnesty International deleyation, composed of Jose Zalaquett, chairman of its International Executive Committee, and Richard Elsner, a member of its International Secretariat, was received in Conakry, Guinea's capital, between December 16 and 23, 1981. During that time, the delegation was received on three occasions by the President of the Republic, Ahmed Sekou Toure, and several meetings were held with the Minister of Justice, Dr. Sikhe Camara. One meeting was held with the Minister of the Interior and of Security, Mr Sekou Gherif, who authorized the delegation to visit one of Guinea's major centers of detention, Camp Boiro prison in Conakry.
The first meetings between the government and the delegation made it possible for both parties to explain their principal concerns with regard to human rights. The authorities stressed that Guinea had achieved independence in 1958 in such circumstances that it had been necessary to guard against violent attempts to overthrow their administration continually, and that these attempts were fostered by foreign powers hostile to Guinea and supported by Guinean exiles. The abortive armed invasion of Conakry in 1970 led by Portuguese troops was, according to the authorities, supported and assisted by numerous internal accomplices, who were tried and sentenced according to the wishes of the Guinean people. Many of those who were released had fled overseas and were plotting new violent attempts to overthrow the Guinean Government. The authorities expressed the view that Amnesty International was being used by