Trial of the main organizers of ongoing nationwide protests against President Alpha Condé’s move to amend constitution for a third term bid opens in a tense atmosphere on Wednesday in Conakry, Guinea.
The eight leaders of the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), a coalition of opposition parties, trade unions and members of civil society, are on trial for making remarks likely to disturb public peace by calling for protests, according to the prosecution.
The leaders were arraigned before the district court in Dixinn, a district of Conakry, under high security, as the capital and several other cities remained plagued by deadly unrest since Monday.
They were arrested on Saturday at the home of the FNDC coordinator, former Minister Abdourahmane Sanoh.
Their lawyer, Salifou Béavogui, expects a ruling later in the day and expects his clients to be “punished,” he told AFP during a hearing break.
According to the attorney, his clients face sentences ranging from 3 to 5 years in prison. “We will plead not guilty,” he stressed.
When questioned first, Mr. Sanoh “rejected the charges leveled him and “reaffirmed his commitment to continue to oppose any change in the country’s constitution,” the lawyer added.
Established in April, the FNDC is vehemently campaigning against a draft revision of the constitution, referred to the parliament by the government, which would allow 81-year-old Alpha Condé to run for a third term at the end of his last constitutional allowed tenure in 2020.