Guinea Opposition Announces June 7 March, 60 Opposition from 5-10 March Still in Jail — Children and Elderly . . . and Torture

Camp Boiro Prison

A  hell where former president, Sekou Toure, sent his fellow citizens to be imprisoned, tortured, and killed

 

**UPDATE:  Late today, the opposition met and decided to postpone the march until Tuesday, June 12**

 

Opposition March – Thursday, June 7

Late Monday, the Guinean opposition announced that its next march will be Thursday, June 7. If you recall, a march was scheduled for May 24th, but the opposition cancelled it because it looked like a set-up for an attack on the opposition. Three or four days before the planned march, information circulated in Conakry suggesting there would be a counter march by the RPG party, the party of Alpha Conde. Suddenly, Conde announced his departure for a whirlwind tour of Asia. Next, more information surfaced suggesting that a massacre of opposition supporters was planned for May 24, not necessarily by RPG alone, but also, take your pick: Donzos, Conde’s ethnic militias, one of Conde’s many mercenary forces lying in wait, or some combination of the foregoing. The opposition decided that it would not participate in a march for which a massacre was planned, especially with Conde out of the country allowing him to use his trip as the “perfect” alibi.

Stay tuned . . .

Men, Women, Minors, Small Children and a Baby Still in Jail Since May 10 March and Oh Yes, Torture

Over 60 opposition supporters are incarcerated in Coronthie jail after being arrested for the May 10 march. In addition to several arrests on the day of the march, police continued to make brutal arrests on May 11, when they burst into homes to apprehend supporters. Perhaps the most outrageous arrest was of a nurse with a baby, both of whom are still languishing in Coronthie jail. In addition, the opposition detainee list includes children under 10 years old, young adolescents and adults, including some elderly. A delegation from the opposition leadership visited their supporters in jail over the weekend. The delegation deplores the conditions of detention and denounces the injustice of the arrests, demanding all supporters be released immediately.

In addition opposition detainees say they were tortured and violated in a police substation in the neighborhood of Hamdallaye before being transported to Coronthie jail. During their visit, delegation members witnessed several instances of torture.

A member of the delegation, Faya Millimono, denounced the torture and violent attacks on the detainees by national police and gendarmerie saying that the Hamdallaye substation was “a real Camp Boiro,” referring to the primary facility where former president Sekou Toure sent his fellow citizens to be imprisoned, tortured, and killed.

Preliminary negotiations are underway to release the detainees. As with most things in Guinea, we shall see.

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The Int’l. Criminal Court, Guinea, and the Sept. 28, 2009, State-Sponsored Massacre: Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s Press Statement

On the first anniversary of the September 28, 2009, massacre of opposition demonstrators, primarily of Peul ethnicity, by Guinean state security forces, protesters gather near the United Nations in New York  to demand justice for the victims.

In a statement received by Aminata.com, the Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Gambian native, Fatou Bensouda, came to Guinea last week to express her determination to bring justice to victims of the events of September 28, 2009.

In her capacity as Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Bensouda (soon to become head prosecutor in June, replacing Luis Moreno Ocampo) met in Conakry with political and judicial authorities as well as victims of the September 28 massacre, including victims of rape. Ms. Bensouda carried the message that if Guinea is unable to prosecute those responsible, the ICC will.  She emphasized, “there is no third way.” Further below is Ms. Bensouda’s press statement in its entirety.

If you are not familiar with the September 28, 2009, massacre in Conakry, Guinea, please see the  Human Rights Watch report, “Bloody Monday: The September 28 Massacre and Rapes by Security Forces in Guinea”. Human Rights Watch issued a shorter document within a month of the massacre, entitled, “Guinea: September 28 Massacre was Premeditated,” which provides a gripping summary.

The investigation into the massacre, unfortunately, became a political football. The international community, concerned that the country was under the control of  military junta leader, Capt. Dadis Camara, used the investigation as a tool to “scare” him out of the country. A bullet to the head from a colleague took care of this problem in December 2009, and, after recuperating in Morocco, Camara was flown to Burkina Faso where he has lived in exile for the last 2 years.  Even though Camara was out of the way, the international community was concerned that the investigation might cause a rebellion within the ranks of state security forces and might prevent the upcoming presidential elections from taking place. The international community, focused on reassuring investors,  badgered Guinea to hold elections so that, upon completion, it could spin a narrative that Guinea was stable and open for business.

The result was not so rosy.  As we know, Alpha Conde stole the 2010 election. His run for office and his governance in office, is characterized by dangerous ethnic-baiting rhetoric, denial of human and civil rights and refusal to encourage swift prosecutions for heinous crimes committed by state forces in the 2009 massacre. Conde has placed the people of Guinea on a powder keg ready to explode into an ethnic war.  Stable?  Guinea Oye thinks not. For more information, please see “Preventive Diplomacy: The International Community’s Betrayal of the People of Guinea.”

Let’s hope that Ms. Bensouda’s message to Guinea that the “jig is up,” has an effect. And, for those who think that Guinea made some progress in the case with the indictment of Tiegboro Camara in February 2012, think again.  This was a stunt to whet the ICC’s appetite for movement in the case and a mechanism to keep Bensouda at bay.  Her appearance in Conakry last week demonstrates that she understands the game.

Ms. Bensouda’s original press statement is in French. The following is a Google translation into English with editing by Guinea Oye!

Press statement of Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
Conakry April 5, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen

First, I want to thank the Guinean authorities, particularly President and Chief, Alpha Conde and the Justice Minister, Christian Sow, for their hospitality and cooperation during this sixth visit to Conakry – my third as Staff – Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

The reason for my visit is simple: I came to review the progress of the national proceedings concerning crimes of September 28, 2009, with the authorities, the judiciary, civil society and victims.

As in previous visits, I was touched and inspired by the conversations I had with victims’ associations. I salute the courage and dignity of victims that I met – including women who were raped, brutalized, and terrorized. These are acts of sexual violence are unthinkable and devastating for victims, their families and their communities.

This is the mandate of my office and a personal priority for me – justice for the victims of Guinea.
The Prosecutor shall initiate investigations and prosecutions launched only when national authorities fail to do so. If top officials are not prosecuted by the Guinean authorities, then the ICC will. As I said before, it’s one or the other, there is no third way.

The survey carried out by the pool of judges of Conakry has made significant progress in recent times with the charge of a high-ranking personality. I want to salute the perseverance and courage of the judges handling the case. They do a complex job in difficult conditions. They deserve our support, the support of authorities and the UN is preparing to support them.

They also deserve the confidence of victims who await justice.

We must continue efforts tirelessly. The authorities assured me that the judges will have all the resources they need and that they can continue to operate independently. As the next head prosecutor, I will personally make sure that this is the case. I will also ensure that the investigation be concluded within a reasonable time for a trial.

This survey is of great importance. For victims in the first place, but also for all Guinean citizens. Guinea has the opportunity to restore the force of law against the law of the jungle. Guinea can turn the page of impunity and build its future on new foundations. Guinea can also become a model, a model of a state which is a party to the ICC that fulfills its obligations to judge only the most senior of the most serious crimes. A model for Africa and the world.

Thank you.

Source: Office of the Prosecutor / Aminata.com

Guinea Oye! Honors The Victims of “Bloody Monday” – September 28, 2009

PERHAPS, THE BEST WAY TO HONOR THE VICTIMS OF SEPTEMBER 28, 2009, AS WELL AS THEIR FAMILIES, IS TO PROMISE NEVER TO FORGET WHAT HAPPENED.  SADLY, WE MUST ALSO ADD THE VICTIMS OF YESTERDAY’S  STATE-SPONSORED SUMMARY EXECUTIONS AND POLICE BRUTALITY. 

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE A SLIDESHOW ON THE SEPTEMBER 28, 2009 MASSACRE.

LONG LIVE THE BRAVE AND PROUD PEOPLE OF GUINEA!

PICS: Guineans Demonstrate at White House and State Dept. Demanding Fair Elections and Removal of Gov’t. Officials

Perhaps as many as 2,000 Guineans from all over the US demonstrated in front of the White House and State Department yesterday concerning  their government’s repeated delays in holding the second round  of its presidental election and called for the removal of President Sekouba Konate, Prime Minister Jean-Marie Dore, and electoral commission head, Lounceny Camara.

The protest was called byGuineans in the US who support the Cellou Dalein Diallo for president alliance.  On June 27, Diallo won the first round of the election with 44% of the vote and his opponent, Alpha Conde, garnered 18%.  The second round of the election has been repeatedly delayed by the transition government for the last three months.

The government’s delays are viewed as part of an elaborate ruse to  favor Conde and to ensure that Diallo does not succeed in becoming Guinea’s next president.  Much of the delay centers on the transition government’s refusal to remove Lounceny Camara as head of  Guinea’s electoral commission even though he is accused of flagrant vote rigging in the first round which may have cost Diallo a win in the first round.  In spite of charges of voting fraud, the transition government refuses to address the issue, leaving the Diallo camp no choice but to threaten a national strike.

In addition to campaign-related issues, many Guineans protested the actions of Guinean security forces which carried out a massacre of at least 200 opposition supporters on September 28, 2009 and the brutal rapes of over 100 women.  The perpetrators of this massacre and rapes have never been brought to justice and some hold key positions in the transitional government. 

As the protest left the White House to head for the State Department, protesters called for the involvement of  Hillary Clinton to get the Guinean elections back on track.

More pictures below and if you wish to see the full set of pics, please click here

On First Anniversary of Guinea Massacre, Families Barred by Military From Entering Stadium Where Relatives Were Killed

Guinea massacre victims’ families unable to gather
AP

    
              
      

By BOUBACAR DIALLO, Associated Press Writer Boubacar Diallo, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 28 mins ago

CONAKRY, Guinea – The families of the 157 people killed in a massacre in Guinea last September were barred Tuesday from entering or approaching the soccer stadium where the killings occurred on the one-year anniversary of the slaughter.

Military trucks teeming with armed soldiers were positioned at the entrance to the sports arena where protesters had gathered to call for an end to army rule last Sept. 28. The army had attempted to halt the protest and when they were not able to, they sealed off the exits to the arena and then opened fire mowing down civilians who fell backward in waves.

Women that survived the barrage of bullets were dragged to the stadium turf and gang raped.

One year later, Guinea is in many ways a changed country: The head of the junta accused of ordering the massacre was forced into exile and his No. 2 agreed to hand over power to civilians. The first round of the presidential election was held in June, but since then the government has repeatedly postponed the date of the run-off needed to choose the country’s new leader.

The anniversary of the killings comes amid worries that the election could be canceled and that Guinea would again revert to a military dictatorship.

The leaders of an association representing the families of those killed in the September massacre say authorities asked them to refrain from marching or going to the stadium because a large gathering could act as a flashpoint for violence. The capital, Conakry, has been tense following the latest election postponement earlier this month.

In a statement read Tuesday on state TV, the Minister of Religious Affairs Mustapha Koutoubou Sanoh asked the families of the victims to mark the date by praying for their loved one at the nearest mosque or church. Implicit in his instructions was the fact that families would not be allowed to march to the stadium, or enter it to place flowers as they had planned.

Early on Tuesday, residents of the sea-facing capital woke up to find the military trucks stationed at the gates of the stadium as well as at key intersections throughout the city.

“Me, I lost my father at the stadium. To this day we have no news of him,” said Bayo Abdourahmane whose family planned to gather at the Faycal Mosque in downtown Conakry to pray.

Rights groups counted at least 157 people known to have been at the stadium when the military opened fire. Only a few dozen families were able to retrieve their dead. The majority of the bodies are believed to be buried in mass graves, according to an investigation by Human Rights Watch.

Within the last 12 months, Guinea has made enormous strides forward. The capital is visibly changed from last year when military convoys sped through town, forcing taxis and cars onto the shoulder and soldiers stole the SUVs of citizens at gunpoint. The military is now far less visible, signaling that the transition to civilian rule is underway.

But while the country is taking baby steps toward democracy, the perpetrators of the massacre are still free. One military commander Moussa Tiegboro Camara — who was seen by numerous witnesses at the stadium during the killings — was relieved of his post as minister in the junta’s regime. He is still, however, the director of a government office tasked with fighting drug trafficking and serious crime.

“My child who was 33 years old was killed at the stadium. His name was Mohamed Aliou Conte and he was a teacher. It’s a loss I will never be able to replace,” said Asmaou Diallo, the president of an association representing victims of the Sept. 28 massacre. “The people that carried out this tragedy are here, they live among us. It upsets us. It’s taken impunity to a new height.”

Human Rights Watch said in a statement that bringing the perpetrators to justice needs to be a priority in order to break the cycle of impunity that has plagued Guinea, a country of 10 million on Africa’s western coast that has known only dictatorship.

Even in the new climate of detente, the massacre is a touchy subject because the perpetrators are all soldiers and the stability of the country depends on the ability to tame the military and prevent it from grabbing power in another coup.

Jean-Marie Dore, the current interim prime minister, was one of the opposition leaders that was brutally beaten at the stadium. Since assuming his post, he has made no public comments on the massacre and many families of victims feel betrayed.

“Jean-Marie Dore has forgotten that he too was at the stadium and that he too was injured there. He has forgotten the hundreds of dead and wounded, and the women that were raped,” said Mamadou Bobo Diallo, a parent of another victim. “Today he gave the order for the army to block the roads in Conakry.”

___

Associated Press Writer Rukmini Callimachi contributed to this report from Dakar, Senegal.

September 28: Guinea Oye! Salutes the Brave People of Guinea

This blog was created in the memory of those who died and were injured in pursuit of  freedom in Guinea on September 28, 2009.  Guinea Oye! offers solidarity to the  Guinean people as they continue their struggle for freedom and democracy and pledges to cover their fight wherever it may lead.

On October 26, 2009, one month after the massacre, Guineans in the US marched in Washington on behalf  of their brothers and sisters in Guinea.  Here are some photos of that day showing their outpouring of solidarity.