Pro-democracy activist detained

Oumar Sylla
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Parliamentary elections were held in Guinea on 22 March 2020 alongside a constitutional referendum. Amnesty International documented serious human rights violations committed by the defence and security forces in several cities across the country on 22 March and the days preceding and following. Security forces committed at least 12 unlawful killings in Conakry and near Mamou. In the city of Nzérékoré, clashes broke out on polling day and continued the next day. According to a statement from of Human Rights Organizations in Forested Guinea (Collectif des organisations de défense des droits de l’homme en Guinée forestière in French), at least 22 people were killed and 100 injured. The bodies were allegedly buried at night without the families of the victims being present. During the violence, several places of worship, including at least three churches, were destroyed and burned. 

On 16 April, a presidential decree invited parliamentarians to elect the new parliament speaker on 22 April.

The National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) is a coalition of non-governmental groups and opposition parties which boycotted the referendum. Since October 2019, FNDC has been organizing protests against the government’s planned constitutional change. The new constitution would reset presidential term limits, allowing president Alpha Condé to be elected for a third term. The referendum could pave the way for his third term bid. It has also opposed the election of the new parliamentary speaker. The FNDC called for a “ville morte” (general strike) on 22 April throughout the country as a form of protest. This marked the suspension of their truce which they announced following the first Covid-19 cases in Guinea.

Leaders of pro-democracy movements and scores of protestors have been arrested and sentenced since 2019. On 22 October 2019, the Tribunal of Dixinn found Abdourahamane Sano, Alpha Soumah (alias Bill de Sam), Ibrahima Diallo, Bailo Barry and Sékou Koundouno guilty of “direct incitement to an unarmed gathering”. Sano was sentenced to a year in prison and the others to six months. They were released on bail on 28 November 2019 pending their appeal.

On 7 March, Ibrahima Diallo and Sekou Koundono, pro-democracy activists of National Front for the Defence of the Constitution, were arrested in Conakry, Guinea. On the day prior to their arrest, they were spokespersons at a press conference during which they accused Commissioner Fabou Camara, director of the Central Direction of the Judicial Police, of phone tapping, torture and other ill-treatment. On 9 March, they were charged with trumped up charges of assault, assaulting a public officer and production and dissemination of data threatening public order and security.

They were released on 13 March, but they still face charges and both remain under judicial supervision.

One case of Covid-19 was reported at Conakry prison on 28 April according to the National Health Security Agency.

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