Urgent Action Victory! Pro-Democracy Activist Released (Guinea: UA 64.20)
September 9, 2020
Oumar Sylla (alias Foniké Mengué), who was in charge of the mobilization efforts of the opposition coalition group, Front for the Defense of the Constitution, was freed from Conakry prison, in the Guinean capital, on 27 August after the judged dismissed all charges against him and ordered his release. He had been arbitrarily detained for 132 days in an attempt to obstruct his work as a pro-democracy activist.
NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.
On 17 April, Oumar Sylla was arrested in front of his house in Conakry, Guinea’s capital, by police officers. He had been detained on charges of ‘violence and threat of death’ and ‘communication and dissemination of false information’ which Amnesty International believes were solely in connection to the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.
Prior to his arrest, Oumar Sylla participated by phone in the show “Grande Gueule” on Espace FM radio station. During his interview, he called on members of the Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), to prepare for the resumption of demonstrations against the government’s plans for constitutional change, which would change presidential term limits and allow President Alpha Condé to run for a third term. He also denounced the killings, torture, arbitrary detention and harassment of FNDC members.
During the first day of trial, on 6 August, the prosecutor warned of the ‘‘serious risk for public order to release Oumar Sylla. We are in a period when the FNDC continues to call for mobilization.’’
Amnesty International believes that Oumar Sylla, who leads the FNDC’s mobilization efforts, was detained solely to reduce their capacity of mobilization against the ruling party’s nomination of President Alpha Condé to run for a third term.
Following his release, Oumar Sylla sent Amnesty International a heartfelt thank you letter: ‘‘For all the support and activities carried out by Amnesty International members for my release, I am very grateful. When I was illegally imprisoned, deep in my being, I knew that I would not be alone and lawyers, friends and human rights organisation will support me (…) I will now support your endless efforts for the release of other prisoners of conscience like the activist Saïkou Yaya and others.’’