Guinea: Release FNDC activists Oumar Sylla and Ibrahima Diallo

01/08/2022
Statement
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Photo: Aboubacarkhoraa via Wikimedia Commons

1st August 2022. On Saturday 30 July 2022, Oumar Sylla and Ibrahima Diallo, members of the Front national pour la défense de la constitution (FNDC) and Tournons la page Guinée (TLP-Guinée), were arrested by Guinea’sruling military junta. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and ten other organisations call for an immediate end to the systematic repression of human rights defenders in Guinea.

On Saturday 30 July 2022, Oumar Sylla and Ibrahima Diallo were arrested by Guinea’s ruling military junta. Oumar Sylla, alias Foniké Menguè, FNDC Coordinator and TLP-Guinée Deputy Coordinator, was arrested at his home at around 1:40 am. Ibrahima Diallo, TLP-Guinée Coordinator and FNDC Head of Operations, was arrested at his home at around 6 pm. After their arrests, these two activists were taken to an unknown destination by violent hooded, heavily armed soldiers and gendarmes.

The FNDC called the arrests ‘kidnappings’. Oumar Sylla’s family was not informed until 3pm that he was being held at the gendarmerie’s high command, where Ibrahima Diallo, who was arrested in the early evening, was also taken. These arrests were arbitrary and completely illegal, particularly that of Oumar Sylla, which took place in the middle of the night since Guinean law prohibits home arrests between 9pm and 6am.

This is the second time in July 2022 that Oumar Sylla has been arrested. On 5 July 2022, he was arrested while holding a press conference. Two other activists(Billo Bahof TLP-Guinée and Djanii Alpha of FNDC) were forcibly taken with Oumar Sylla to the Central Headquarters of the Judicial Police (in french Direction centrale de la police judiciaire-DCPJ). They were released on 8 July 2022 by the Dixinn Court of First Instance. Public outcry undoubtedly contributed to their release.

The arrests and prosecutions occurred during the outbreak of violence inConakry after the authorities banned a series of FNDC rallies which were to begin on 23 June 2022 to denounce the military junta’s decision to unilaterally manage the transition. At the last rally (28 July), police reported 12 injuries among its ranks and the arrest of 85 people. According to the FNDC, four people were killed and several others suffered bullet wounds; five are in critical condition. The regime’s violent repression is aimed at silencing dissenting voices and discouraging public demonstrations.
These latest arrests are a serious blow to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression in Guinea.

Our organisations call attention to the fact that the ban on all gatherings "until the elections", that was announced on 13 May 2022 by the Comité national du rassemblement pour le développement (CNRD) is contrary to international law, in particular to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which Guinea signed. It also contravenes Article 34 of the transitional charter that was proposed by the CNRD and signed on 27 September 2021 by the Head of State. It guarantees "freedom of association, assembly, press and publication".

Following these events, the FNDC met with the Umaro Sissoco Embalo, the current Chairman of the Conference of Heads of States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), on Friday 29 July 2022. The FNDC agreed to ECOWAS’ request to suspend the demonstrations for a week, hoping that a positive result could be obtained through mediation.
The arrest of Oumar Sylla and Ibrahima Diallo, and harassment of FNDC activists by the CNRD, are jeopardising the implementation and success of the mediation process.

- We demand that Oumar Sylla and Ibrahima Diallo be released immediately and that all charges against them be dropped.
- We demand that the CNRD put an immediate end to the repression and harassment of TLP-Guinée and FNDC activists, as well as citizens who participated peacefully in the demonstrations organised by the FNDC.
- We urge Guinea’s international partners to call for respect of the rights of FNDC activists and Guinean citizens, in particular by suspending all security-related cooperation with the country.
- We call on Guinean authorities to restore the right to freedom of peaceful assembly immediately, to drop charges against those who wish to exercise this right, and to release persons who have been arbitrarily arrested for doing so.

Media contact: Moyra Oblitas, Communication Officer, Tournons La Page, moyra.oblitas@tournonslapage.org

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