Guinea ALERT: Gendarme jailed for assaulting journalist

On November 12, 2014, the Kaloum County Court sentenced Staff Sergeant Abdoulaye Diallo to eight months in prison, fined him an amount of 10 million Guinean Francs (about US $1300) and barred him from carrying weapons for five years.

David Tchopn Bangoura, a journalist of Radio Lynx FM, was assaulted by Staff Sergeant Diallo on September 4, 2014.

Bangoura was covering a peaceful march organised by former clients of an alleged bankrupt bank who were demanding the reimbursement of their money when Diallo, charged at him and uttered “you journalists, you are the ones going everywhere to report problems.” He followed the statement with two slaps, sending Bangoura to the ground.

Following the assault, management of the Lynx-la Lance-Lynx Press Group, owners of Radio Lynx FM on October 29, lodged a complaint at the Kaloum County Court against Staff Sergeant Abdoulaye Diallo.

According to MFWA’s correspondent in Guinea, this case is symbolic because it is the first time a media house in the country has lodged a complaint against a member of a security agency in the country.

The MFWA welcomes this good news. This is the second time in Guinea that an action has been taken by authorities to redress violations against journalists. In July this year, the commander of the National Gendarmerie, General Mamadou Baldé, caused the arrest and detention of some gendarmes who assaulted a journalist who tried to cover an eviction exercise.

It is our belief that when perpetrators of freedom of expressions violations are punished, it will go a long way to end impunity in the sub region. We urge other countries to follow this example of Guinea. We also commend the Lynx-la Lance-Lynx Press Group for initiating this case and urge owners/managers of media organisations to be concerned about the safety of their journalists.

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