Camp Boiro Memorial

Amnesty International
1995 Report on Human Rights
in Guinea

At least 11 government opponents were imprisoned for up to one month and appeared to be prisoners of conscience. Several suspected government opponents arrested in previous years were held without charge or trial throughout the year. Reports of torture and ill-treatment were widespread. Liberian refugees were victims of serious human rights violations; at least 140 were detained without charge and several reportedly died in custody, and others were forcibly returned to Liberia. A Liberian armed political organization reportedly carried out deliberate and arbitrary killings of Liberian refugees with the support of some official. in Guinea.

The security forces continued to harass opponents of the government of President Lansana Conte, who was returned to power in elections in December 1993. Legislative elections scheduled to take place during 1994 were postponed until 1995. Public meetings by opposition parties were banned for most of the year and several of those which did take place were broken up by the armed forces. For example, in August soldiers broke up a meeting of the opposition Rassemblement du Peuple de Guinée (RPG), Guinean People's Rally, in Kerouane, 700 kilometres east of he capital, Conakry, killing two people and injuring many others.

In December the government announced that the death penalty, which lad not been enforced since President Conte took power in 1984, would be imposed by the courts and carried out. The measure was part of an official campaign against violent crime. No death sentences were known to have been carried out by he end of the year.

The civil war in neighbouring Liberia continued to effect Guinea, particularly in areas close to the Liberian border. According to eye-witnesses, in these areas a faction dominated by members of the Mandingo ethnic group of the Liberian armed political organization, the United Liberation Movement for Democracy in Liberia (ULIMO), was reportedly allowed to operate with the support of local government officials and members of the Guinean security forces of the same ethnic origin, known as Malinke in Guinea (see Liberia entry).

Eleven RPG members were detained in Kankan province in January and appeared to be prisoners of conscience. Tidjane Traoré, Mamady Magassouba and others were arrested after a political campaign tour.

They were initially detained at a military camp in Kankan, where they were ill-treated, until they were brought to court on charges of inciting resistance. They were sentenced to between 15 days and one month's imprisonment.

In December, 13 Islamist activists, including Seidou Sidi Beye, a Malian national, were arrested in Mandiana, 550 kilometres east of Conakry. They were brought to court, apparently on charges of violence and making inflammatory speeches, although it was not clear whether they had in fact used or advocated violence. At least five were given prison sentences of up to two years' imprisonment; others were given suspended prison sentences.

Other suspected government opponents remained held without charge or trial. Amadou II Diallo, arrested in October 1992 in connection with an alleged assassination attempt against President Conte (see Amnesty International Report 1994), remained in detention without charge or trial throughout 1994, Bassy Andre Diakite, a Burkinabe national reportedly arrested in Siguiri in March 1993 in suspicion of undermining the security of the state, was held without trial at the central Prison in Conakry throughout 1994.

There were widespread reports of torture and ill-treatment, particularly of people held in the region near the border with Liberia. For example, detainees were subjected to a torture method known locally as "tabey'': the arms are tied tightly behind the back with elbows touching, causing extreme pain, rope burns and sometimes paralysis.

There were reports that Liberian refugees in Guinea and, in some cases, Guineans suspected of helping them, were subjected to various human rights violations by Guinean officials who sympathized, on ethnic grounds, with certain Liberian armed factions. For example, some Liberian refugees who were not from the Mandingo ethnic group were reportedly accused of supporting Liberian armed political movements opposed to the Mandingo faction of ULIMO and were detained without charge or trial or, in some cases, killed. In July reports indicated that more than 140 Liberians were detained for this reason in Macenta; four had reportedly died as a result of ill-treatment and torture. They were apparently suspected of supporting the Lola Defense Force (LDF), militia which emerged in northeast Liberia in late 1993 to counter attacks from the Mandingo faction of ULIMO. In mid-July, four Liberian refugees and two Guineans accused of helping them were arrested and detained without charge in Macenta. Also in July, a nurse from Gbarnga in Liberia who was a refugee in Guinea was arrested and accused of spying for the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), an armed political group based in Gbarnga and fighting ULIMO since 1991. She was reportedly taken to Macenta Prison. It was not possible to confirm whether any of these detainees had been released by the end of the year.

There were reports that Guinean army and immigration officials participated in the forcible return of Liberian refugees fleeing ULIMO forces in Liberia. In February, a Liberian nurse fleeing to Guinea was reportedly forced at gunpoint to cross back into Liberia and shot in the back and seriously injured by a Guinean soldier.

Abuses were reportedly committed in parts of Guinea by ULIMO and there were allegations that they had been carried out with the cooperation of some Guinean officials. For example, Guinean soldiers reportedly allowed ULIMO fighters to wear Guinean army uniforms and to kill young men among the Liberian refugees in Guinea whom they suspected were LDF members. Three Liberians - Kulubah Piwi, Alfred Zeze and Augustine Moniba - were reportedly shot in this manner by ULIMO fighters in June in the Guinean town of Yezu. In none of the cases involving abuses by ULIMO were the Guinean authorities known to have intervened to protect refugees or bring to justice those responsible for abuses.

ULIMO forces deliberately and arbitrarily killed Guinean civilians. In one case, at east 18 civilians were killed in early January when ULIMO fighters attacked two owns on the Guinean side of the border. Amnesty International was concerned about the imprisonment of apparently peaceful government opponents, the long-term detention without charge or trial of other political detainees and reports of torture and ill-treatment of detainees. The organization was also concerned about the alleged killing, torture and arbitrary detention of Liberian refugees; it was particularly concerned about the failure of the judicial authorities or central government to take any action to ensure the protection of refugees or end the pattern of abuses against them.