Guinea: Call for human rights and democracy to be protected following military coup

As details emerge regarding the 5 September military coup in Guinea, ARTICLE 19 calls on all authorities, including the military, security forces and incoming government, to uphold democracy and observe international standards on human rights.
Guinea’s security forces ousted President Alpha Conde on 5 September and dissolved the government, claiming it did so to tackle ongoing corruption and poverty.
“ARTICLE 19 is closely following the political situation in Guinea, where a coup d’etat was carried out on Sunday, 5 September by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, head of the Special Forces Group (GPS), who announced the arrest of the president of the republic, Alpha Condé, the dissolution of governmental institutions and the suspension of the Constitution,” said Bulakali Alfred Nkuru, the Deputy Regional Director of ARTICLE 19 West Africa.
“This is another setback for democracy and a blow to the rule of law, which was already battered by a controversial third term for the president and his regime’s continued repression of protesters, opponents, and all dissenting voices,” he added.
Prior to Sunday’s coup, Guinea’s democracy was already seriously flawed and fragile. The president had recently amended the constitution to ensure he could serve a third term, and the country’s security forces were often accused of carrying out human rights violations and repressing peaceful political demonstrations. Instead of helping to strengthen the rule of law and democratic procedures, the country’s elite security forces took matters into its own hands.
“An environment conducive to free expression must be guaranteed during this crisis,” said Bulakali Alfred Nkuru. “ARTICLE 19 calls for respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, for the independence of the media, for the protection of journalists, pro-democracy activists and all civic and political opinions, including dissenting ones. Respect for freedom of expression and democracy must be a priority for all the actors involved. All those previously arrested for their opinions must be immediately released, and, as we have been repeatedly demanding, violations against the right to freedom of expression must come to an end.”
Towards the end of 6 September, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya said a new government would be formed within a matter of weeks, and that there would be no reprisals against former government officials. The president was reportedly still in captivity.
It was unclear whether the coup had been backed by the Guinea military as a whole or whether it was simply the work of one elite unit.
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Sainey M.K. Marenah
Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.


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