Human Rights Campaigner Detained in Guinea

Human rights officials in Guinea are calling for the release of a prominent human rights worker jailed without charge because of an interview he gave to VOA about the September killing of opposition demonstrators.

Human rights activist Mouctar Diallo enters his second month in detention without being charged by Guinea's military government.

Diallo is a retired counselor in the political section at the U.S. Embassy in Conakry and is now the director for the promotion nd protection of human rights at Guinea's national monitoring group for human rights.

He was detained before testifying at a U.N. inquiry into the September 28 killing of opposition demonstrators.

Tierno Madjou Sow, president of Guinea's Human Rights Organization, says security forces ransacked Diallo's office and broke down the door to get in. After he was arrested and taken to Guinea's main military camp, Sow says Diallo was transferred to a civilian prison, but he does not know why.

Aliou Barry, who runs the national human rights monitoring group where Diallo works, says he is continuing to ask the military government why they arrested Diallo. What wrong thing has he done? What is the motive for his arrest? Barry asks. He says within Guinea's national human rights monitoring group, there is no motive for Diallo's arrest.

Barry says there are concerns about Diallo's health because he is an older man who is diabetic and suffers from hypertension. Barry says they hope he is freed soon because they do not understand why defending human rights is a motive for arrest.

Following his detention, security officials told foreign diplomats in Conakry that Diallo was being held in connection with an interview he gave to VOA's French-to-Africa service the day after September's killing.

In that interview, Diallo explained how he came across individuals who had been badly beaten at the national stadium and said he let them use his cellphone to call family members and the Red Cross.

Since Diallo's detention, human rights attorney Thierno Balde says the government's justification for the arrest has shifted.

"Frankly, there is nothing clear because at the beginning when he was arrested, we were told that it was because of an interview which he made with Voice of America. And later on they said it was because of his involvement with something against the state. We don't know exactly what it is because so far I haven't seen any notification saying that this is why he has been arrested," he said.

Human Rights Watch is calling for Diallo's immediate release, saying his detention appears to be part of a campaign of harassment against opposition voices.

A U.N. inquiry into the September killing of at least 157 people and the rape of as many as 100 women says the violence amounts to a crime against humanity that is directly attributable to the military government, including its leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara.

Captain Camara is recovering in a military hospital in Morocco after being shot by the former head of the presidential guard. Guinea's ruling military council says the captain is "doing very well" and "will be back to Conakry soon." 

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