Guinea authorities say they will prosecute former President Alpha Conde and 26 of his officials for violence surrounding his bid for a controversial third term in office. The 84-year-old former leader was overthrown in a coup d’état in September by a military junta that now leads the West African country.
The list of names includes a former president of the constitutional court, ex-speakers of parliament, a former prime minister and many former ministers, legislators, and heads of the security services.
The ex-president and his supporters are accused of several charges including complicity in murder, abductions, torture, and illegal detentions, according to documents from the General Prosecutor’s Office signed by Attorney General Charles Alphonse Wright. He ordered the district attorney to immediately begin legal proceedings against Conde.
In 2010, Conde became the first democratically elected president in the history of the West African country. But his popularity dived in his second term as critics accused him of authoritarianism, and opposition protests were violently repressed. Tension escalated bloodily in the runup to elections in October 2020.
Conde’s bid to extend his rule to a third term, after backing a constitutional referendum that altered the term limits, sparked violent demonstrations. He ultimately won another five-year term in October 2020. His main challenger, Cellou Dalein Diallo, and other opposition candidates alleged irregularities in the official results, which saw him winning with 59.5 percent of the vote.
Guinea’s electoral in 2020 killed at least 12 people in the capital and 50 people in other parts of the country. He was deposed last year by mutinous army officers led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, a former special forces commander. Doumbouya has since been sworn in as interim president and implemented a crackdown on alleged corruption by the former regime.
The legal proceedings were launched after a complaint was filed by the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), an umbrella group that had spearheaded protests against the former president. French firm Bourdon and Associates, which represents the FNDC, said in a statement that it was pleased "that Guinean courts will act to fight against impunity," calling it a "first step".
Condé's future became a major issue between the ruling junta and the regional bloc ECOWAS after the coup. He was initially detained and then allowed to go to the United Arab Emirates for medical treatment in January, returning home on April 10.
The order for legal proceedings against Conde comes nearly a week after the head of the military junta, Col. Mamady Doumbouya, said that a transition to elections and a return to civilian, democratic rule could take more than three years.