I am concerned about the detention of Saïkou Yaya Diallo, legal coordinator of FDNC, who was arrested on 7 May and detained at the Directorate of the Judicial Police. On 12 May, he was charged with "assault, violence, threats and public insults" and transferred to Conakry prison, where he has since been held.
His arrest is linked to the alleged forced imprisonment by FNDC members of a suspected government intelligence officer agent during a press conference on 25 March at the headquarters of the political party PADES. He and his colleagues reportedly put the suspected intelligence agent in an office while waiting for a crowd to disperse outside, presumably to protect the agent from potential violence from the crowd of opposition activists in retaliation to the killing of 12 people by security forces following controversial elections in the week before. According to several witnesses, Saïkou Yaya Diallo was not involved in any violence.
I am concerned about Saïkou Yaya Diallo’s health whilst in detention, as he suffers from chronic diabetes which requires a strict diet and treatment. Furthermore, I am concerned that he is now at heightened risk of contracting COVID-19. On 12 May, the Guinean authorities officially confirmed 58 cases of COVID-19 and three deaths in the prison. Prisons are at risk of becoming a very dangerous hotspot for COVID-19 outbreaks. The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture has urged all states to “review all cases of pre-trial detention in order to determine whether it is strictly necessary in the light of the prevailing public health emergency and to extend the use of bail for all but the most serious of cases”.
I believe that Saïkou Yaya Diallo has been detained for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. It is very important that states take urgent measures to protect those who are deprived of their liberty, especially by releasing all individuals who are held simply for peacefully expressing their human rights.
In light of the above, I urge you to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release Saïkou Yaya Diallo and drop all charges against him;
- Ensure that, pending his release, Saïkou Yaya Diallo’s has access to healthcare, water, the appropriate food for his diet, and regular access to his family;
- End harassment and intimidation against members of pro-democracy activists in Guinea.