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Guinea31 January 2002

Journalist arrested for implicating president’s family in scandal

In a letter to President Lansana Conté, RSF protested the

arrest of the weekly "L’Aurore"’s publication director. "Legal procedures

are casually held up to ridicule in this affair," stated Robert Ménard, the

organisation’s secretary-general. "Journalists accused of violating the

press law are granted twenty days before being heard, according to Guinean

law. The law also grants them the option of declining to reveal their

sources," he recalled. RSF called for the journalist’s immediate release.

According to information collected by RSF, on 29 January 2002, Alcoumba

Diallo, founder and publication director of the weekly "L’Aurore", was

arrested by security forces and taken to the Kaloum Police’s third mobile

station. He was interrogated about his sources by Commander Soumah,

President Conté’s aide-de-camp. This followed the publication of an article

in the newspaper’s 11 to 15 January issue which reported that some of the

National Navy’s ships are owned by the president’s family.

RSF recalled that three journalists were arrested in Guinea in 2001. Two of

them were sentenced to several months’ imprisonment for criticising senior

state officials.

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