"); NewWindow.document.close(); return false; } // end hiding from old browsers -->

GUINEA: Newspaper editor and lawyer detained - OCHA IRIN
Friday 25 March 2005
Latest News
East Africa
Great Lakes
Horn of Africa
Southern Africa
West Africa
·Burkina Faso
·Cape Verde
·Cote d'Ivoire
·Eq. Guinea
·Guinea Bissau
·Sao Tome & Pr.
·Sierra Leone
·West Africa
·Western Sahara
Democracy & Governance
Food Security
Gender Issues
Health & Nutrition
Human Rights
Natural Disasters
Peace & Security

GUINEA: Newspaper editor and lawyer detained

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


CONAKRY, 17 Feb 2005 (IRIN) - The news editor of an independent weekly newspaper, and the lawyer of an opposition politician who disappeared following last month's assassination attempt on President Lansana Conte, have been arrested, their colleagues said on Thursday.

Journalists at La Lance said Benn Pepito, the news editor of the publication, was arrested at his home on Wednesday night.

Paul Yomba Korouma, a lawyer who had been acting for missing opposition politician Antoine Soromou, was picked up a few hours later in the early hours of Thursday morning, one of his colleagues told IRIN.

It was initially thought that Pepito had been arrested in connection with an article in La Lance which drew comparisons between the political crisis in Togo triggered by the death of President Gnassingbe Eyadema, and what might happen in Guinea when Conte, who is 71 and in poor health, finally quits the scene.

In both countries, the constitution stipulates that if the president dies in office or becomes incapacitated, the president of the national assembly should take over as interim head of state and organise fresh elections. However, when Eyadema died in Togo earlier this month, the armed forces suspended the constitution and installed Faure Gnassingbe, the president's son, as the country's new leader.

Pepito's article suggested that a similar coup was possible in Guinea, where Conte, a former army colonel, has held power for 21 years and has groomed no obvious favourite to succeed him.

However, news of Korouma's arrest encouraged speculation that Pepito's arrest might have more to do with the disappearance of Soromou, the leader of the small National Alliance for Development (AND) opposition party.

Soromou, the former mayor of the southeastern town of Lola, returned home from exile in Cote d'Ivoire last year.

He and veteran opposition leader Alpha Conde were jailed from 1998 to 2000 on charges of plotting to overthrow Conte. On his release, Soromou moved to Cote d'Ivoire, where he set up a timber business.

He returned to Guinea in late 2004 and was arrested on 6 January on the grounds that he had entered the country without a valid passport.

He was held for a week before being released on 13 January on police bail.

However, Soromou disappeared completely following an incident on 19 January when armed men fired on the president's motorcade in the capital Conakry, seriously injuring a bodyguard.

Korouma claimed publicly that his client had been kidnapped, ostensibly by government agents.

Pepito had followed the Soromou saga closely and had written several articles about the harassment of the politician and his eventual disappearance.


Other recent GUINEA reports:

Presidential elections delayed until 19 June,  21/Mar/05

Three senior ministers sacked from government,  9/Mar/05

Cholera epidemic kills 15 in capital,  25/Feb/05

EU provides $12m to help cash-strapped government in election run-up,  24/Feb/05

Newspaper editor and lawyer released,  21/Feb/05

Other recent Democracy-Human Rights-Peace Security reports:

COTE D IVOIRE: UN demands inquiry into 13 torture deaths, 16/Mar/05

SIERRA LEONE: Third war crimes trial starts, AFRC leaders in dock, 7/Mar/05

IRAQ: Gypsies call for greater rights, 3/Mar/05

IRAQ: Thousands were unable to vote in north, 9/Feb/05

IRAQ: New centre for missing people to open, 7/Feb/05

[Back] [Home Page]

Click here to send any feedback, comments or questions you have about IRIN's Website or if you prefer you can send an Email to Webmaster

Copyright © IRIN 2005
The material contained on www.IRINnews.org comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian news and information service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies.
All IRIN material may be reposted or reprinted free-of-charge; refer to the IRIN copyright page for conditions of use. IRIN is a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.