Guinea: Oumar Sylla’s health deteriorates in detention

Urgent Appeal
en fr

New information
GIN 002 / 0420 / OBS 039.6
Deterioration of health /
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment /
Republic of Guinea
10 August 2021

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the 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 deteriorating health of detained activist 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 July 27, 2021, Oumar Sylla was evacuated to Ignace Deen Hospital in Conakry following a heart attack. The cardiologists who examined him demanded that he be hospitalized immediately due to the serious deterioration of his health — Mr. Sylla was suffering from severe heart problems and unable to walk on his own. However, Guinean authorities refused to admit him to hospital and instead returned him to Conakry Central Prison, where he has been held since September 29, 2020, that same evening. On August 2, 2021, Oumar Sylla was again hospitalized following a heart attack. At the time of publishing this urgent appeal, Mr. Sylla is still under surveillance at Ignace Deen Hospital. This is his seventh hospitalization since January 2021.

The Observatory recalls that Oumar Sylla was violently detained on September 29, 2020, as he was about to participate in a demonstration organized by the FNDC to protest against 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 upon a sole charge against him, the offense of "illegal gathering on the public highway". After three months in pre-trial detention, Oumar Sylla began a hunger strike on December 25, 2020 to protest against his arbitrary detention and to demand his trial. He ended it on January 8, 2021 after his court date was scheduled. He was greatly weakened by his strike and was hospitalized the same day before being sent back to 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 been subjected to threats, arbitrary arrests, and judicial harassment since April 2019 when they peacefully protested against the constitutional reform 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 Dialloand Sékou Koundouno. All have remained under judicial supervision since March 13, 2020.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about the deteriorating health of Oumar Sylla in detention and his possible return to the Central Prison of Conakry, whose poor detention conditions have caused the death of several opponents in recent months. The Observatory calls on the Guinean authorities to immediately implement all necessary measures to guarantee Oumar Sylla’s safety, physical integrity, and psychological well-being, as well as access to the health care he needs.

Furthermore, the Observatory denounces the continued arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Oumar Sylla, which seems to be aimed at sanctioning his righteous human rights activities, and calls on the Guinean authorities to proceed with his immediate and unconditional release for health reasons.

Actions required:

The Observatory requests that you write to the Guinean authorities 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. Proceed with the immediate and unconditional release of Oumar Sylla and all human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in the Republic of Guinea;

iii. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including judicial harassment, 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.


 Mr. Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Guinea, Twitter: @President_GN @Sekhoutoureya
 Mr. Ibrahima Kassory Fofana, Prime Minister, Head of Government, Twitter: @IbrahimaKFofana @PrimatureGN
 Mr. Mamadou Lamine Fofana, Acting Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals, Email:
 Mr. Mouctar Diallo, Minister of Youth and Youth Employment, Email:
 Mr. N’Famara Camara, Secretary General of the Ministry of National Unity and Citizenship, Email :
 Mr. 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, August 10, 2021

Kindly inform the Observatory of all action undertaken by quoting the code of this appeal in your reply

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
 Tel FIDH: 33 1 43 55 25 18
 Tel OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39

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