Camp Boiro Memorial

Amnesty International
Annual Report - 1977
Republic of Guinea

Since the release of Pierre Xueref (an Amnesty International investigation case) in July 1975, the organization has not taken up any other case in Guinea, but has been closely studying the human rights situation in that country.
Appeals continue to reach the organization from several sources for intervention on behalf of political prisoners in Guinea whose numbers according to current information can be conservatively estimated at more than 1,000. They include long-term detainees, some held without trial since 1969, and more than 100 who have been condemned to death or life imprisonment.
Among those serving life sentences is Raymond-Marie Tchidimbo, Archbishop of Conakry, who was sentenced (with hard labour) in December 1970 for refusing to read from the pulpit an official document in which the Christians were summoned to support the Guinean revolution and the liberation from "imperialism".
Several appeals have reached Amnesty International, requesting the organization to intervene on his behalf.
Amnesty international continues to receive reports of the systematic use of torture in several detention camps in Guinea, especially in Camp Boiro. Torture is said to be used to extort confessions from detainees and to oblige them to sign prepared documents. Information from reliable sources describes the systematic use of many forms of torture including starvation and prolonged solitary confinement. Underfeeding, exposure to excessive heat during the day and to cold at night, malaria, lack of adequate toilet facilities and very poor general sanitary conditions, all combine to cause chronic illness. Some detainees have gone blind, while others have had their eye-sight seriously impaired; some are temporarily or permanently maimed, as a result of torture, according to reliable reports. There have also been reports of deaths resulting from torture, disappearances and summary executions.
In Guinea there are said to be arbitrary arrests, detentions without trial and other forms of political persecution. Although it has been impossible to undertake an on-the-spot investigation of these reports, the regularity with which they reach Amnesty International and their confirmation by eyewitnesses gives them considerable credibility. Confronted by such a situation, the organization has attempted to make initial contact with the Guinean authorities with a view to intervening on behalf of political prisoners in Guinea and sending a mission to that country.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International did intervene, though not directly, on behalf of Diallo Telli, first Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity and former Minister of Justice in Guinea, who was imprisoned in 1976, by requesting the OAU to ensure that his life was spared. At the time of writing, Diallo Telli's fate is not known. Earlier information suggested that a confession allegedly made by him was extracted under torture. Amnesty International protested to the French Government in November 1976 against the seizure of a book by former prisoner Jean-Paul Alata, which describes conditions in Camp Boiro where he spent over four years in detention; he was among the 18 French and German prisoners in Guinea who were freed in July 1975.
On 8 June 1977, the US-based International League of Human Rights published a report on the human rights situation in Guinea, which also formed the basis of a communication from the League to UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim. The 300-page report estimated the number of political prisoners in Guinea at more than 3,000, most of them detainees held without charge or trial. The League alleged that political prisoners were liable to torture, murder, arbitrary execution, or starvation in Guinea's detention camps, the most notorious of which is Camp Boiro.
Amnesty International cabled President Toure on 10 June to express concern over the allegations of human rights violations contained in the League's report.