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FI 154/20-5
Abgeschlossen am 13. Oktober 2021

Guinean activist released from detention

AI-Index: AFR 29/4735/2021

Oumar Sylla (alias Foniké Mengué) was freed from Conakry prison, in the Guinean capital, on 7 September after the Attorney General ordered his release on the instructions of the new authorities, following a military coup on 5 September. Oumar Sylla had been arbitrarily detained since 29 September 2020 and in June 2021 was sentenced by Conakry’s Court of Appeal to three years in prison for «communication and dissemination of false information, violence and threat of death», solely in connection to his peaceful activism.

Oumar Sylla was arrested on 29 September 2020 while mobilizing against President Alpha Condé's candidacy for the October 2020 presidential election. Following the presidential election, protests - some of which were violent - erupted to contest the results. Security forces responded to the protests by using excessive force when carrying out operations in some neighbourhoods which resulted in deaths. According to Amnesty International, at least 16 people were shot dead between 18 and 24 October 2020.

On 10 June 2021, Oumar Sylla was sentenced by Conakry’s Court of Appeal to three years in prison for «communication and dissemination of false information, violence and threat of death».

Oumar Sylla’s health severely deteriorated in detention. In March 2021, he contracted Covid-19 and had to be evacuated to hospital numerous times this year. After suffering from heart problems, Oumar Sylla was evacuated to hospital on 27 July 2021 where a college of cardiologists demanded his urgent hospitalization because of the advanced deterioration of his health. The penitentiary administration refused to follow up on this injunction from the doctors and took him back to prison. On 2 August 2021, he was again evacuated to hospital where he remained until his release.

On 5 September, the Guinean military carried out a coup and announced the detention of President Alpha Condé and the dissolution of the Constitution and government. They ordered the Attorney General to examine cases of prisoners detained on political grounds, with the aim of releasing them.

On 7 September, following the decree of the new Guinean authorities, the Attorney General ordered the penitentiary administration to immediately release Oumar Sylla without conditions.

«I am free since 7 September 2021 and I thank the whole world for their support but particularly I thank Amnesty International. Each action from Amnesty International has greatly comforted me in prison. Once again, I thank Amnesty International for all the support and actions taken for my release.»

Activist and mobilization coordinator for National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC in French), Oumar Sylla was targeted by the authorities and arbitrarily deprived of his liberty as punishment for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Amnesty International continues to monitor Oumar Sylla and the other activists’ situation and will respond to any developments as appropriate. No further action is requested from the Urgent Action network. Many thanks to all who sent appeals.

No further action is requested. Many thanks to all who sent appeals.

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