Urgent Action Update: ACTIVIST SENTENCED TO 3 YEAR IMPRISONMENT (Guinea: 154.20)
July 1, 2021
On June 10, 2021, Oumar Sylla (alias Foniké Mengué), a pro-democracy activist and mobilization coordinator for National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC in French), was sentenced by Conakry’s Court of Appeal to three year imprisonment for “communication and dissemination of false information, violence and threat of death”. He must be immediately and unconditionally released as he is being punished for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and assembly.
Please take action as-soon-as possible. This Urgent Action expires on August 26, 2021.
Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
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Ambassador Kerfalla Yansane
Embassy of the Republic of Guinea
2112 Leroy Pl. NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 986 4300
Contact form: https://bit.ly/2CpLqLu
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
I am writing to you regarding the unlawful conviction of Oumar Sylla (alias Foniké Mengué), a pro-democracy activist and mobilization coordinator for National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), who has been sentenced to three years of imprisonment.
Oumar Sylla was re-arrested in Conakry, the Guinean capital, on September 29, 2020 while mobilizing people to engage in a protest against President Condé’s candidacy for the October 2020 presidential elections. On January 28, 2021, after four months of arbitrary detention, the Mafanco Court in Conakry sentenced him to 11 months in prison for “criminal participation in a gathering likely to disturb public order”. His lawyers appealed the decision.
In an unexpected turn of events, on June 10, Conakry’s Court of Appeal sentenced Oumar Sylla to three year imprisonment for ‘communication and dissemination of false information, violence and threat of death’- the same charges that were brought against Oumar Sylla during his first arrest in April 2020 but were dismissed by a judge on August 27, 2020, who subsequently ordered his release after 132 days of arbitrary detention.
I am concerned that Oumar Sylla has been convicted solely in connection to his pro-democracy activism with the FNDC. He has been targeted by the authorities and arbitrarily deprived of his liberty. He must be released immediately and unconditionally.
I am also deeply concerned about Oumar Sylla’s health whilst in detention, which has severely deteriorated since his 14-day hunger strike in December 2020. He has had to be evacuated to hospital several times, the last time on May 28. And in March 2021 he contracted Covid-19.
In light of the above, I call on you to:
Ensure that Oumar Sylla’s conviction is overturned without delay, making sure it is in line with international law and standards and does not violate his right to freedom of expression; and he is released immediately and unconditionally;
Ensure that, pending his release, Oumar Sylla’s conditions of detention are in line with international standards, including access to adequate healthcare and regular access to his lawyers and family;
End the harassment, intimidation and arrests of members of civil society and individuals solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.