Lawsuit against Journalist: Prosecutor Demands 5 million Guinea Francs Fine

The prosecutor in charge of the jailed journalist Amadou Diouldé Diallo’s lawsuit has requested a 5 million Guinean Francs fine (about 500 US dollars) in compliance, he says, with provisions of law 98 as well as those of Act 105 of the law L2010 02 CNT on press freedom.

This is an unexpected change to the case. In fact, charged with offending the head of state, the journalist is currently in police custody. The media fraternity in Guinea has denounced this, arguing that the law on press freedom does not provide for the deprivation of liberty.

Held since 27 February 2021, Amadou Diouldé Diallo appeared before Conakry’s General Court on 13 April 2021.  The Court’s presiding judge, Aboubacar Mafering Camara, informed the detained journalist that he was being prosecuted for “insulting the head of state” in comments made during the programme Œil de Lynx on 21 January on Radio Lynx Fm. The journalist who was a guest speaker on the programme which has a high audience rating declared that President Alpha Conde wanted to exterminate the Fulani people.

The judge asked him if he acknowledged having uttered offending remarks against the Guinean head of state. Amadou Diouldé Diallo replied that he had not offended the head of state and denied the charge against him. Moreover, he said he takes full responsibility for the statement, which he said stand as an “alert and not an offence to the head of state”.

Sidy Souleymane N’diaye, the public prosecutor at the First Instance Court of Dixinn, spent a long time in his summons on the content of the journalist’s remarks when participating in the programme “œil de lynx”. He then qualified the remarks as “an attack on the President of the Republic’s integrity and reputation”. He consequently demanded a fine of 5 million Guinean francs (about 500 US dollars) under Law 98 and 105 of Law L2010 02 CNT of 22 June 2010 on press freedom.

The curious thing is that, although Law L2010 02 CNT of 22 June 2010 on freedom of the press does not provide for police custody or imprisonment, the court failed to release the journalist. After pleadings and arguments from lawyers, the president of the court has rejected the request of the defence to release the journalist and has postponed the deliberation to 28 April 2021.

Posterior to the hearing, the journalist Amadou Diouldé Diallo, who has been ill for weeks and hospitalised at the Ignace Deen Hospital, was carried in the central prison vehicle. He was returned to the hospital where he is to continue his treatment until 28 April before knowing what fate awaits him.

“We are disappointed by the representative of the public prosecutor insofar as this offence, even if proven, incurs a financial penalty and not deprivation of liberty.  We are therefore surprised in this indictment that he is still talking about a two-week delay, o pot of which he is asking our client to return to prison”, lamented Esq Alseny Aissata Diallo, before indicating that “whatever decision is taken, will only be a financial one and not one of deprivation of liberty”.

The MFWA is also disappointed that the journalist has been sent back to prison for an alleged press offence, which falls under the 22nd of June 2010 Law L2010 02 CNT on freedom of the press, which is supposed to have decriminalised press offences. We, therefore, appeal to the Guinean authorities to take the necessary measures to release the journalist from prison, who is also ailing.

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