The authorities in Guinea must release political activist, Souleymane Condé, and ensure that the rights of citizens to freedom of assembly and expression are respected at all times.
Conde, a Guinean citizen who recently arrived in Conakry from the United States of America to launch a new pro-opposition political movement, was arrested on September 12, 2020, shortly after he held a press conference to launch this movement.
Until he launched Diversite Republicaine de Guinee (DRG) movement, Souleymane Condé was the coordinator of the Front national pour la defense de la Constitution (FNDC), formed in 2019 to coordinate opposition to President’s Alpha Conde’s now successful bid to change the constitution in order to seek a third term in office.
Conde, who is known for the numerous videos he posts on social media in which he attacks Alpha Conde’s regime, said the country’s October 18 presidential elections will be rigged, and denounced poor public service delivery in Guinea.
“It is important that Republican values return to this country. I communicate with a lot of Guineans. They are fed up with the situation they are living. There are thousands of Guineans who were born for 20 years ago and who have not seen the water at the pump; they do not know what is well-being, and all that is due to bad management. We have to change this country,” Conde said at the launch of the new pressure group.
The activist was however arrested as he was driving home shortly after the programme and taken into detention at the Criminal Investigations Division of the Police.
“He has produced videos in which he used a certain plain language. He does things that are not in line with the law, and that is why he was arrested, the news web site mediaguinee.com, quoted a police source as saying.
“Our client is detained at the criminal investigations department of the police. He will be arraigned before a Magistrate’s court at Dixinn tomorrow [September 15]. From all indications, he was arrested for his social media publications,” counsel for the activist, Salif Beavogui, also told the MFWA.
The FNDC has strongly condemned the arrest describing it as a case of scores-settling by the government.
“The dictatorial Alpha Condé regime has kidnapped our comrade Souleymane Condé, without doubt victim of settling of scores for his unconditional struggle against the third term agenda among the Guinean diaspora,” the FNDC said in a statement.
The arrest of Souleymane Conde infringes the Guinean constitution which guarantees that right to freedom of assembly and of expression. The MFWA therefore urges the police in Guinea to release the activist immediately and refrain from interfering with his right to express his opinion and participate in the political and social discourse in the country.