Guinea: Repression resurges

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On July 5, 2022 at 2 p.m., three human rights defenders who are members of the Front national pour la défense de la constitution (National Front for the Defence of the Constitution, FNDC), two of whom are also members of Tournons la page Guinée (Turning the Page Guinea, TLP-Guinée), were violently arrested and dragged into pick-up vehicles by the second Brigade de répression du banditisme (BRB). At the time of their arrest, they were holding a press conference at FNDC headquarters to comment on the socio-political situation regarding the latest conclusions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). They were then taken to the Central Directorate of Judicial Police (DCPJ). They were injured during the arrest and were denied medical treatment despite their lawyers’ requests.

Oumar Sylla, alias Foniké Mengué, deputy coordinator of TLP-Guinée, Billo Bah, head of the youth section of TLP-Guinée, and Djanii Alpha, artist and head of the FNDC’s promotion of active citizenship, were arrested without a warrant and without prior summons. While in police custody, Oumar Sylla and Billo Bah were charged with contempt of court and disrespect for justice, while Djanii Alpha was heard for insult. The activists were referred to the Dixinn Court of First Instance later that day. Prosecution had already been initiated on July 4 by the Public Prosecutor Charles Wright against Oumar Sylla and Billo Bah for allegedly producing and disseminating via a computer system comments deemed "insulting to members of the National Transitional Council."

During the arrest, several journalists were also assaulted as the police tried to prevent them from filming the scene.

The military transition put in place since September 5, 2021 after the coup d’état against Alpha Condé is plunging Guinea into a new cycle of repression. After banning demonstrations in recent months, the junta has now embarked on a series of arbitrary arrests in a bid to silence dissenting voices.

We strongly condemn the arbitrary arrest of Oumar Sylla, Billo Bah and Djanii Alpha and call for their immediate release and the dismissal of all charges against them.

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