Annual Report: Guinea 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Guinea 2013

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Republic of Guinea

Head of state Alpha Condé

Head of government Mohamed Saïd Fofana

Legislative elections due to be held in 2012 were postponed until 2013. Human rights violations committed by the security forces included excessive use of force and extrajudicial killings, as well as torture and other ill-treatment. Freedom of assembly and expression remained tightly restricted. An independent journalist was subjected to intimidation and beatings.

Background

The National Transitional Council (Conseil national de la transition, CNT), created by the Ouagadougou agreements of January 2010, had still not transferred power to an elected National Assembly by the end of the year. In April, President Condé postponed legislative elections, scheduled for July, citing the need to ensure that they were transparent and democratic. The opposition questioned the impartiality and transparency of the National Independent Electoral Commission (Commission électorale nationale indépendante, CENI). In October, the CENI was reshuffled; elections were set for July 2013.

Excessive use of force and extrajudicial executions

Protest marches organized by the opposition including the Union of Guinean Democratic Forces (Union des forces démocratiques de Guinée, UFDG) were repressed by security forces throughout the year. At least eight people were killed by security forces.

In May, protests organized by the UFDG demanding free and transparent legislative elections continued in Conakry. Several people were injured, including one man who was reportedly shot in the back by security forces.

In early August the premises of a Brazilian mining company were vandalized following a strike by workers living in the neighbourhood, including the village of Zogota, 900 km from Conakry. Later the same day, security forces went to Zogota and shot dead at least five people. Others were arrested and were beaten and tortured.

In September, following unrest in the Koloma neighbourhood of Conakry, security forces opened fire in disproportionate retaliation. Mamadou Alpha Barry was shot dead and more than 40 people were injured.

Trials – attack on presidential residence

The trial began in February of 48 people suspected of attacking President Condé's residence in July 2011. In March, 17 people were cleared of all charges and were released. In July, the public prosecutor appealed against the decision of the Conakry court. In November, the Conakry Court of Appeal reversed the decision to drop charges against 15 of the defendants and sent them before a military court and the court of assizes. Some prisoners were tortured and otherwise ill-treated at the time of their arrest.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Allegations of torture and other ill-treatment by security forces continued.

  • In February, three men suspected of armed robbery were arrested and tortured at the police station in Bambeto, Conakry. One was tortured with electricity, and another was beaten for four hours with his hands tied behind his back, a method known as the “chinoise”. After refusing to confess, he was stripped naked and kicked as well as beaten with rifle-butts in front of his family. Both were sent to the Escadron Mobile No 2 in Hamdallaye where they were burned with cigarettes and held in the “brochette” position (handcuffed and suspended in a squatting position, with a piece of wood placed between the knees). The third arrested man was considered missing for a week before his body was found in the mortuary of Donka Hospital. He had died reportedly as a result of torture.

Freedom of expression – journalists

Restrictions of freedom of expression and of the press, as well as the targeting of certain journalists, remained causes for concern.

In February, Kounkou Mara, a journalist for the private Guinean press group Lynx-La Lance, was beaten by gendarmes while on her way to an event organized by the Central Bank of the Republic of Guinea in Conakry (BCRG). She was briefly hospitalized. The heads of the Lynx-La Lance press group did not press charges for fear of reprisals. None of the gendarmes had been brought to justice by the end of the year.