Teacher found guilty of inciting crowd to attack journalist

This statement was originally published on mfwa.org on 22 June 2020.

A Magistrate’s Court in Faranah, Guinea, has found a teacher guilty of inciting a mob attack on Facely Kalman Keïta, a correspondent for the news website Guineenews, and handed him a one-year suspended sentence.

The accused, David Lancéi Condé, who pleaded guilty and apologised, was cautioned to be of good behaviour by the court in its June 17, 2020 verdict.

On May 26, 2020, Facely Kalman Keïta went to the city of Faranah, some 450 kilometres from Conakry, to cover a demonstration by the inhabitants over a long spell electric power cut. As the journalist was moving closer to the demonstrators, David Lancéi Condé addressed him in these words: “Where are you going? We don’t need journalists here. You are crooks,” the reporter narrated. Sensing danger, Keita decided to move away from the crowd, but the accused ordered a group of youngsters to attack him.

Fortunately, Keita managed to get onto his motorbike just in time before the angry, cursing youngsters could lay hands on him. Thereafter, the journalist reported the matter to the prosecutor at the Faranah Magistrate’s court and the accused was charged after investigations.

“I am very satisfied with the decision of the Guinean justice through the TPI [Tribunal de Premiere Instance] of Faranah, because this trial was a lesson for the population of this city,” Keita rejoiced at the decision.

The Media Foundation for West Africa also welcomes the conviction of Conde for his act of aggression against Keita. We believe the verdict, though rather lenient, still represents a huge symbolic victory for press freedom over impunity and a signal to would-be violators that their actions would not go without consequences. The MFWA also commends Keita for reporting the incident and pursuing justice to its logical conclusion.

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Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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