Guinea to investigate former president Conde for alleged treason

The probe puts more legal pressure on Alpha Conde, already facing allegations of corruption, assassination and torture.

Guinean Justice Minister Alphonse Charles Wright has announced an investigation into its ex-President Alpha Conde for treason, two years after he was removed from power in a military coup.

Conde, Guinea’s first democratically elected leader, was removed from office in September 2021 by an elite army unit led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya. The coup came after he sought to extend his decade-long tenure with a third term in office and violently suppressed protests against the election bid.

Guinea’s military leaders have since launched a litany of judicial probes into Conde, including for alleged corruption, assassination, torture, kidnapping and rape.

The latest probe, ordered on Monday, will look into “alleged acts of treason, criminal conspiracy and complicity in the illicit possession of arms and ammunition”, according to a letter from Wright to the public prosecutor in Guinea’s capital of Conakry.

The letter alleges Conde, who now lives in exile in Turkey, had acquired weapons and ammunition, without providing details.

Guinea is one of several West and Central African states to have undergone a coup in recent years. Gabon, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger have all seen at least one coup each since 2020.

Guinea’s military leaders have vowed to transition the country back to civilian rule by 2026.

Another ex-president charged

Earlier this month, a drama played out for another Guinean ex-president in legal turmoil, Moussa Dadis Camara, as he was briefly freed from prison in a jailbreak.

Camara was recaptured on November 4, hours after being busted out of the Central House prison in Conakry by an armed commando, according to his lawyer. His lawyer, Pepe Antoine Lamah, said the jailed ex-president had not willingly participated in the breakout and instead was kidnapped by armed men.

However, a judicial source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the masked and armed soldiers who arrived at the prison declared they “had come to free Captain Dadis Camara”. It was unclear whether Camara had escaped of his own free will.

Camara – a former army officer who himself came to power in a coup, leading the country from December 2008 to January 2010 – has been detained since September 2022 on charges of murder, sexual violence, torture, abduction and kidnapping.

They stem from a 2009 attack carried out by security forces loyal to the then-military government leader.

The killing of 156 people and the rape of at least 109 women started at a political rally in a Conakry stadium on September 28, 2009, and continued in the days that followed, according to a UN-mandated inquiry. Camara and ten other co-defendants face life imprisonment if convicted.

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