Guinea protests: Court jails five opposition leaders, including former government minister

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Following a series of protests in Guinea last week, five leaders of a Guinean opposition alliance have been sentenced in connection with the protest, ABC News can report.

Abdourahmane Sanoh, a former government minister and an organiser of last week’s “unauthorised” demonstrations, which resulted in at least nine deaths, received a one-year jail term for inciting civil disobedience.

Four other members of the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), a coalition of politicians and activists opposed to a constitutional change, received six-month sentences by the court in the capital, Conakry. Three others were acquitted.

They had been accused of insurrection and disturbing the public peace.

The defendants were arrested in the days leading up to the protests.

The prosecution, which had been seeking five-year sentences, said it planned to appeal – as did the defence.

“Everything has been done to silence our clients for a long time because it has been decided they will be obstacles to [Conde’s] plan to seek a third term,” Mohamed Traore, one of the defendants’ lawyers, told reporters after the verdict was read.

Rights group Amnesty International criticised the court’s ruling, saying “no one should be detained for having organised or called for a peaceful demonstration.”

“The sentencing of leaders of civil society shows the desire of Guinean authorities to crush all forms of dissent,” Francois Patuel, Amnesty researcher, said.

The demonstrations were called over the possibility of President Alpha Conde running for a third term.

But the authorities did not approve the protests and at least nine people died in violence as police clashed with demonstrators.

The government said it strongly condemned and regretted the violence.



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