Amnesty International condemned on Wednesday “the deteriorating human rights situation” in Guinea since January 2015, including killing of dozens in protests as a presidential ballot fast approaches in 2020.
Warning of rising political tensions due to public concern that President Alpha Conde would change the country’s constitution to run a third term, a report by the human rights group documented the killing of some 70 protesters and bystanders, as well as at least three security force members.
“The Guinean authorities must address mounting human rights violations, including the killing of protesters, bans on peaceful assemblies and attacks on dissenting voices, which threaten to get worse ahead of the 2020 presidential election,” said the group.
“Nine protestors were killed last month alone during demonstrations against a potential revision of the constitution. Leaders of pro-democracy movements and scores of protestors were arrested. This is an affront to human rights and a brutal attempt by the Guinean authorities to silence dissent,” Amnesty quoted Marie-Evelyne Petrus Barry, its West and Central Africa Director.
Adding that it “could not confirm the circumstances of all the deaths, testimonies from medical staff, witnesses and the type of ammunition used indicate that at least 59 of them appear to have been killed by the police and gendarmerie,” it accused security forces of targeting the press, assaulting journalists and media houses and revoking their licenses.
It stressed that impunity still prevailed in the Western African country, noting reports of torture, and “other ill-treatment, particularly in police custody” including “beatings, rapes, the use of stress positions, burns and sleep deprivation”.
Anadolu Agency could not obtain immediate comment from authorities regarding the report.
In October, a coalition of Guinean opposition groups announced in a statement that 10 protesters had been killed, 70 wounded and 200 arrested over protests against a possible constitutional change to allow President Conde to run for a third or even a fourth term.
The current constitution, adopted only nine years ago, allows the president to run for two five-year terms.
Conde’s term will end in December 2020.
Civil society groups, trade unions and opposition parties have joined forces to prevent the 81-year-old leader from changing the constitution.
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