Guinea : RSF and AIPS call for release of two imprisoned journalists
The International Sports Press Association (AIPS) and the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) are joining forces to call for the immediate release of journalist Amadou Diouldé Diallo, one of the doyens of the Guinean press, who is being jailed in Conakry, and of sports journalist Ibrahima Sadio Bah. They are simply demanding that the law decriminalising press offences in Guinea be respected.
Amadou Diouldé Diallo was arrested on February 27th in Conakry. He had just participated in a journalistic programme broadcast on a private Guinean radio station during which he had violently criticised the action of the Head of State, Alpha Condé, recently re-elected President of the Republic of Guinea for a third term. Charged on March 1st, for "offence to the Head of State and defamation", he was placed under a detention order. His failing health required his transfer from the central prison to the Ignace Deen hospital in Conakry.
Several days before Amadou Dioulde Diallo got arrested, another sports journalist, Ibrahima Sadio Bah, was sentenced to six months in prison and fined 500,000 Guinean francs (about 40 euros) for "defamation, public insults and slanderous denunciation" against the president of the Guinean Football Federation (FEGUIFOOT), Mamadou Antonio Souaré. He was sentenced on February 4th for an article on the website guinee7.com relating to accusations of corruption by an unsuccessful candidate against the winner of the FEGUIFOOT presidential election. The prosecutor had however asked for the release of the defendant for an unproven offence.
“The detention of journalists, even though the law does not allow it, remains too frequent in Guinea,” RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire deplores. “They are also unprecedented in their duration. We call for the release without any condition of these journalists in accordance with the applicable laws.”
Historian and journalist, Amadou Diouldé Diallo is the president of the Guinean Sports Press Association and the vice-president of the African section of the AIPS, which gathers 166 national associations of sports journalists from the five continents.
“AIPS defends free access to sports events and freedom of expression for all journalists everywhere around the world,” AIPS President Gianni Merlo states. “We are shocked that two of our Guinean colleagues of which one is our member have been incriminated and jailed because of comments made in the exercise of their profession, even if, as in Mr Diallo’s case, it was not in sports reporting. We also request for the release without any condition of our colleagues in compliance with the applicable laws."
AIPS and RSF note that the pre-trial detention of Amadou Diouldé Diallo is in opposition to the constitution of the Republic of Guinea, Article 10 which stipulates that "Every individual has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Law L002 on the freedom of the press decriminalised press offences in Guinea. The objective of this law is to prevent citizens from being arrested and put in prison for offences committed through the press.
Amadou Diouldé Diallo was arrested on February 27th without prior summons. All the efforts of his lawyers to obtain his release so that he can freely prepare his defence have been in vain. His family is concerned about his health. A first letter from the AIPS to the President of the Republic of Guinea, Mr Alpha Condé, requesting the release of Mr Diallo has remained unanswered.
Guinea is ranked 110th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index.
AIPS President, Gianni Merlo
General Secretary of Reporters without borders, Christophe Deloire