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Camp Boiro Memorial


Amnesty International
1990 Report Human Rights Situation
Guinea


At least six suspected opponents of the government were arrested, all of whom appeared to be prisoners of conscience. They were reportedly tortured. Five were released in December; the sixth was still held at the end of the year. No new information was received about people arrested in October 1988, and the fate of 63 prisoners convicted in 1986 also remained unclear. One death occurred apparently under torture in police custody and several people were shot dead during a subsequent protest.

In October President Lansana Conte announced government plans for political change and a transfer of power from the military to a civilian government. He said that two political parties would be allowed and that these would compete for national assembly and presidential elections by 1994. The government appointed a commission to draft a new constitution, which was to provide for a clear separation of executive, judicial and legislative powers, and for the existence of a one-chamber national assembly. Although no political parties were specifically banned in 1989, in practice the .suspension of the constitution in 1984 was interpreted to mean that party politics were prohibited: supporters of the Rassemblement du peuple guinéen (RPG), Guinean People's Organization, were arrested.

In October Guinea ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Mohamed Ali Bangoura, a newspaper distributor, was arrested in November on suspicion of being a member of the RPG. Police had found a copy of Malanyi (Unity), an RPG newspaper, in his possession. At least five other suspected RPG members were subsequently detained in Conakry, including Bernard Bangoura, who worked at Pharmaguinée, a state-owned distributor of medicines, and Hassane François Bangoura, a lecturer at Conakry University. All those detained were reportedly tortured. All but one of the detainees were released in December after being held in police custody without charge or trial and without being referred to a judicial authority. Mohamed Ali Bangoura was believed to be still held at the end of the year.

At the end of October, 17-year-old Issaka Conde, known as "Memba", died in police custody at Labé, apparently as a result of torture. He had been arrested for damaging the head lamp of a motorcycle. Soon after he died, his relatives and other protesters were involved in a violent demonstration at the police station. Army troops called in to restore order opened fire on the demonstrators, reportedly killing six. Government officials from Conakry were sent to Labé, but it was not clear if they were to carry out an investigation into the circumstances of Issaka Conde's death or the subsequent killings.

No new information was received about Kabinet Kaba and others arrested in Conakry and the Kankan area in October 1988 after an incident during independence day celebrations (see Amnesty International Report 1989). Some were reported to be still imprisoned at the beginning of the year, but it was not known if they were subsequently released. The fate and whereabouts of 63 people convicted in secret and unfair trials in 1986 also remained unclear. In 1988, the government said they were no longer imprisoned, but it was not known at the end of 1989 whether they had been released (see Amnesty International Report 1989). There were consistent reports that a number of them had been executed secretly. Others were said to have died in custody, including Major Abraham Kabassan Keita, a former government minister, and El Hadj Sory Sidibe, a relative of the former head of state, Ahmed Sekou Toure.

Amnesty International expressed concern to the government about the arrest of Mohamed Ali Bangoura and other suspected RPG supporters as possible prisoners of conscience and urged that they be charged and promptly tried for a recognizably criminal offence, or released. Government officials denied the arrests of the six men and said they were unknown to the prison authorities: they claimed that there had been no political prisoners in Guinea since 1985. The organization also made inquiries about prisoners arrested in October 1988, but received no response. Amnesty International urged the authorities to set up a judicial inquiry to investigate the circumstances in which a prisoner and others had died in Labé in October.