Camp Boiro Memorial

Amnesty International
Annual Report - 1997 Guinea

Possible prisoners of conscience were among trade unionists, journalists and opposition supporters detained. A trade unionist and six journalists were detained during the year. Five opposition party members were arrested and held without charge or trial. Twenty-eight opposition party supporters were tried in connection with a strike in 1995. They had allegedly been tortured and ill-treated in detention. The Supreme Court confirmed six death sentences passed in 1995. No executions were reported.

In February and March, armed revolts led by the army erupted twice in the capital city, Conakry, leaving hundreds wounded and scores dead. In February, a pay dispute turned into a revolt against President Lansana Conté. Mutinous soldiers surrounded and shelled the presidential residence. Scores of members of the armed forces were subsequently arrested. In March, shooting broke out again when dozens of soldiers were charged with treason in connection with the February mutiny. Again, scores were arrested. Some were released in August, but dozens remained in detention charged with treason.

In July, President Conté appointed a new government, the majority of whose members belonged to the President's party, the Parti de l'unité et du progrès, Party of Unity and Progress. The President appointed Sidia Touré as Prime Minister.

In January, Thierno Ismaïl Diallo, a trade unionist, was arrested in Télémélé and held for three days without charge. He was accused by the local military authorities of having led strike action by teachers from his region in December 1995. Thierno Ismaïl Diallo was also the member responsible for the Télémélé branch of the Organisation guinéenne des droits de l'homme, Guinean Organization for Human Rights.

Souleymane Diallo, Director of Lynx, a satirical newspaper, was arrested in March and released after 20 days in detention. The authorities had accused him of falsifying documents because he had not published the full text of a presidential decree fixing the pay scale for members of the armed forces. Although a court ordered his release on the grounds that no crime had taken place, the prosecutor overruled the decision and he remained detention for five more days.

Thierno Sadou Diallo and Siaka Kouyaté, editor-in-chief and editor, respectively, of the weekly newspaper Le Citoyen, were arrested in June for publishing an article concerning the theft, during the February mutiny, of a diamond belonging to President Conté. They were held at the Maison d'arrêt in Conakry until their trial in July on a charge of insulting the Head of State, and were then released conditionally before being sentenced to a fine. The newspaper was suspended for two months.

Foday Fofana, a Sierra Leonean journalist working for Reuters and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) radio, was arrested in November when he pointed a microphone at President Conté. He was tried for assault two weeks later and sentenced to two weeks' imprisonment.

Ismaël Bangoura and Louis Célestin Espérance (an Ivorian national), the Director and Managing Editor, respectively, of L'Oeil newspaper, were arrested in December following the publication of an article about the collapse of the government. Louis Célestin Espérance was released after two days but Ismaël Bangoura was still in detention at the end of the year.

In October, Bandjou Oulen Oularé, Secretary General of the Faranah branch of the opposition Rassemblement du peuple de Guinée (Rpg), Guinean People's Rally, was arrested. He was detained on the orders of the General Secretary in the office of the President, reportedly because the police commissioner « dreamed » that Bandjou Oulen Oularé overthrew the Head of State.

Four other members of the Rpg, Saloum Cissé, Madame Keita (née Bintoubé Camara), Louceni Condé and Mamady Diaby, were arrested in November and December. All four were still held without charge at the end of the year.

Amadou II Diallo and some Rpg supporters arrested in previous years remained in detention. Amadou II Diallo, who had been arrested in October 1992 and charged with attempting to assassinate the Head of State (see Amnesty International Report 1996), had still not been tried at the end of the year. Twenty-eight Rpg supporters who had been arrested in September 1995 in Nzérékoré, Guinée Forestière, when the opposition launched a strike known as « ville morte » (dead city) (see Amnesty International Report 1996), were tried in October. Only two received prison terms. Moussa Traoré was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for disseminating information about the strike. Aboubacar Cissé was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for the lynching of a member of the security forces. Five others held until the trial were released, but did not appear to have been tried.

All those tried stated that they had been beaten at the time of their arrest. Some received as many as 64 truncheon blows; some had been subjected to electric shocks. During the first four months of their detention they were shackled and chained together in groups of eight.

Information emerged about the death in custody of Fallo Kouayaté in November 1995. He had apparently been arrested in November 1995 and accused of helping someone who wished to avoid an arranged marriage to escape, although no formal charges were brought against him. He died as a result of beatings and torture in detention. No independent inquiry into the death was known to have taken place.

In January, the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentences imposed on six people in 1995. Five of them had been convicted on charges of murder, attempted murder, complicity in murder, armed robbery and criminal association. The sixth person, Sekou Bangoura, had been convicted of murder, having thrown a grenade into a bar, causing the death of three people. One of those under sentence of death, Djibril Koly Koné, died of illness in November. No executions were known to have taken place.