Guinean journalist’s continuing detention is “incomprehensible,” RSF says
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates its call for the immediate and unconditional release of Guinean journalist Amadou Diouldé Diallo and is amazed that he is still being held after more than six weeks of arbitrary detention although the only punishment requested by the prosecution at a trial hearing on 13 April was a fine.
A reporter for state-owned radio and TV broadcaster RTG who has been held ever since his arrest on 27 February, Amadou Diouldé Diallo could nonetheless be held a while longer. At the 13 April hearing in his trial on a charge of insulting the president, which he attended, a verdict was postponed until 28 April.
Although the prosecution did not seek a prison sentence and simply asked the court to fine him 5 million Guinean francs (420 euros), the court refused the defence’s request for his provisional release.
One of his lawyers, Alseny Aïssata Diallo, told RSF that this was “a big disappointment, given that the law has abolished prison sentences for ordinary press offences.” The journalist Diallo is accused of insulting President Alpha Condé when he spoke on privately-owned Radio Lynx FM on 27 February, referring to the president and ethnic violence in Guinea.
Diallo is in poor health and was transferred on 2 March from prison to the rheumatology section of Conakry’s Ignace Deen Hospital, where his movements continued to be restricted, as RSF confirmed when it visited him at the hospital during a visit to Guinea in April.
“Amadou Diouldé Diallo’s continuing detention is incomprehensible, especially as the prosecution has simply asked for him to be fined,” said Assane Diagne, the director of RSF’s West Africa office, “How can they justify two additional weeks of detention when, according to the 2010 press law, this journalist should not have been detained in the first place. It is time to respect the law and for the authorities to stop arresting and detaining journalists arbitrarily in connection with their work.”
RSF has taken repeated steps to get Diallo released ever since his arrest. During a visit to Conakry on 8 April, RSF met with information and communication minister Amara Somparé and called for Diallo’s immediate release. A memo with RSF’s recommendations on how to improve press freedom in Guinea was also given to the minister at this meeting.
The same week, RSF and the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) issued a joint call for Diallo’s immediate release and for the Guinean authorities to respect the country’s 2010 law decriminalising press offences.
In Guinea, journalists are often taken into police custody or jailed in connection with their work. On 4 February, the sports journalist Ibrahima Sadio Bah was sentenced to six months in prison and a fine of 500,000 Guinean francs (40 euros) on a charge of defaming the head of the Guinean Football Federation (FEGUIFOOT), Mamadou Antonio Souaré. RSF also called for his release during its visit to Conakry last week.
Guinea is ranked 110th out of 180 countries in RSF's World Press Freedom Index.