Guinea: Oumar Sylla released from prison

Urgent Appeal
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New information
GIN 002 / 0420 / OBS 039.7
Release from prison /
Judicial harassment
Republic of Guinea
16 September 2021

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership between FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention on the following situation in the Republic of Guinea.

New information :

The Observatory has been informed of the release of Oumar Sylla, alias Foniké Mengué, deputy national coordinator of Tournons La Page-Guinée [1] and mobilisation coordinator of the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) [2].

On 7 September 2021, Oumar Sylla was released from Conakry central prison following the orders of the Guinean military authorities after more than 11 months of arbitrary detention. However, at the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, his three-year prison sentence, pronounced on 11 June 2021 by the Conakry Court of Appeal, has not been overturned.

The release of Oumar Sylla, and of dozens of other human rights defenders and political opponents, follows on from the Guinean military junta’s assumption of power following a coup d’état led on 5 September 2021 by the special forces of Colonel Mamady Doumbouya against President Alpha Condé, who has been in power since 2010.

The Observatory recalls that Oumar Sylla was violently detained on 29 September 2020 as he was about to participate in a demonstration organised by the FNDC to protest President Alpha Conde’s bid for a third term, before being placed under arrest for "unlawful assembly", "disturbing public order", "undermining state security" and "destroying public property". After several interrogations, the investigating judge finally decided to retain only the offence of "illegal gathering on a public highway" against him. After three months in pre-trial detention, Oumar Sylla went on a hunger strike on 25 December 2020 to protest against his arbitrary detention and to demand his trial. He ended his hunger strike on 8 January 2021 after his hearing was scheduled. Greatly weakened by his hunger strike, he was hospitalised the same day before being sent back to prison.

Subsequently, Mr Sylla was hospitalised several times due to the obvious deterioration of his health in prison . On January 28, 2021, the Correctional Court of Mafanco found Oumar Sylla guilty of "criminal participation in an assembly likely to disturb public order" and sentenced him to 11 months in prison. Mr. Sylla’s lawyers and the Public Prosecutor’s Office appealed the decision. Pending the appeal, two requests for bail were denied by the court. On June 11, 2021, the Conakry Court of Appeal sentenced Oumar Sylla to three years in prison. Oumar Sylla’s lawyers have appealed the verdict. At the time of publication, the date of his hearing is still unknown.

The Observatory also recalls that on August 27, 2020, Oumar Sylla was released from Conakry Central Prison, where he had been held for more than four months, after being acquitted by the Dixinn Court of First Instance from charges of "spreading false information". The Prosecutor at the Dixinn Court of First Instance appealed this decision and the first hearing before the Conakry Court of Appeal was set for September 30, 2020. Due to the arrest of Oumar Sylla, this hearing could not be held and was postponed to a date still unknown at the time of this publication.

Finally, the Observatory recalls that many other members of the FNDC have, since Aprils 2019, been subjected to threats, arbitrary arrests, and judicial harassment when they peacefully protested against the constitutional reforms adopted during the March 2020 legislative and referendum elections, which allowed President Alpha Conde to run and be elected for a third consecutive presidential term in October 2020. Among them are, Mr. Abdourahamane Sanoh, Mamadou Baïlo Barry, Alpha Soumah, Abdoulaye Oumou Sow, Mamadou Bobo Bah, as well as Ibrahima Diallo and Sékou Koundouno, who both remain under judicial supervision since 13 March 2020. In addition, an international arrest warrant was issued for Sékou Koundouno at the end of August 2021.

The Observatory welcomes the release of Oumar Sylla but recalls that he should never have been detained in the first place, as his detention was arbitrary in that it only aimed to sanction his legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory calls on the Guinean military junta to immediately annul the conviction of Oumar Sylla, to drop all charges against him and to put an end to all forms of harassment, including at a judicial level, against him and all human rights defenders in Guinea. The Observatory also calls on the Guinean military junta to put in place a democratic and inclusive transition process and to respect human rights in the country.

Action requested: :

The Observatory urges you to write to the members of the Guinean military junta asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Oumar Sylla and all human rights defenders in the Republic of Guinea;

ii. To proceed annulling the conviction and lifting all charges against Oumar Sylla;

iii. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Oumar Sylla and all human rights defenders in the Republic of Guinea, and ensure that they can carry out their activities without hindrance or fear of reprisal.

Adresses :

· Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, President of the Transition, Twitter: @PresidentCNRD
· H.E. Amara Camara, Ambassador of the Republic of Guinea in Paris, Email:
· M. Ousmane Sylla, Ambassador of the Republic of Guinea in Brussels, Email :
· Permanent Representation of the Republic of Guinea to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Email :

Please also write to the diplomatic representatives of the Republic of Guinea in your respective countries.

Paris-Geneva, 16 September 2021

Please inform the Observatory of any action taken by indicating the code of this appeal.

The Observatory, a partnership between FIDH and OMCT, aims to protect human rights defenders who are victims of violations and to provide them with the most concrete assistance possible. FIDH and OMCT are members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the hotline :
· E-mail :
· Tel FIDH : + 33 1 43 55 25 18
· Tel OMCT : + 41 22 809 49 39

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