Camp Boiro Memorial

Human Rights
Amnesty International 1987 Report

Amnesty International was concerned about the government's continued failure to account for the whereabouts of some 20 prisoners who "disappeared" while in custody in July 1985 and who were alleged to have been secretly executed. Amnesty International was also concerned about the incommunicado detention without trial of at least 50 people and possibly many more, who were arrested after an unsuccessful coup attempt in July 1985, and about the continued detention without trial of some 20 people associated with former President Ahmed Sekou Toure and his government, who were arrested in April 1984. The findings of an official inquiry established to investigate the "disappearance" of many prisoners under the government of former President Sekou Toure, between 1958 and April 1984, were still awaited at the end of 1986.

Amnesty International did not learn of new political arrests during the year, but was concerned about detainees held since 1984 and 1985. Although insufficient information was available to assess whether any of them were prisoners of conscience Amnesty International was concerned that in the absence of any judicial proceedings it was likely that some detainees were being held arbitrarily and might be prisoners of conscience.

Amnesty International received further information during 1986 about prisoners arrested after the July 1985 coup attempt. This indicated that many of those arrested had played no direct part in the attempted coup on 4 July 1985, but had been detained apparently because they were regarded as supporters of Diarra Traore, the alleged leader of the coup. Those detained were reported to include both Diarra Traore's wife and an imam who acted as his religious advisor. It appeared that detainees suspected of involvement in the July 1985 coup attempt were held in military custody without being referred to the courts or to either the civilian or military judiciary. During 1986 they reportedly remained in detention at Alpha Yaya Diallo military camp in Conakry, where they were not allowed to receive visits from relatives, lawyers or others. Amnesty International was unable to obtain detailed information about conditions at the camp, but did receive confirmation that some of those arrested in July 1985 and during the following months had been tortured after their arrest, while in military custody. It was not clear whether the use of torture continued during 1986. Unofficial sources reported that a number of detainees held at the camp died during the year, but it was not possible to obtain independent confirmation.

No further information was made public by the government about the fate of some 20 political prisoners alleged to have been executed summarily and secretly in July I985 (see Amnesty International Report 1986). Amnesty International urged the government to clarify the fate of these prisoners but received no response. In September it submitted details about them to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. They included 11 prisoners detained since April 1984 on account of their activities under the government of former President Sekou Toure, some of whom were alleged to have been involved in killing or torturing political detainees, and nine others believed to have been arrested in July 1985.

The government also made no further information public in relation to 'disappearances" which occurred before April 1984, under the administration of President Sekou Toure. It was not clear whether the Commission of Inquiry set up after President Lansana Conte took power in April 1984 to account for missing prisoners was continuing its work, but no progress seemed to have been made towards either clarifying the fate of "disappeared" prisoners or bringing to trial those responsible for human rights abuses committed in the period before April 1984.

On a number of occasions during 1986 Amnesty International asked the authorities for information about prisoners and suggested steps to be taken to protect human rights in Guinea. In July the organization wrote to President Conte proposing eight practical measures to prevent arbitrary detention, torture and "disappearances". These were based on the 12-point program for the abolition of torture published by Amnesty International in April 1984. The proposals included introducing a procedure for bringing all detainees before a judicial authority, such as a representative of the public prosecutor's office, promptly after arrest, as required by international law, and for making judicial officers responsible for ensuring the legal procedures were respected and for checking on the detainees' well-being. Amnesty International also recommended establishing a central register in each province with the names and whereabouts of detainees, so that relatives and legal representatives could obtain this information. By the end of 1986 Amnesty International had received no response from the Guinean authorities to its July letter.