AP

Guinea sets trial date 13 years after 2009 stadium massacre

Sep 16, 2022, 12:08 AM | Updated: 12:17 pm

CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — Guinea will try the alleged perpetrators of a 2009 stadium massacre that killed at least 157 people and left dozens of women raped, the justice minister announced Friday, drawing praise from victims’ families who have waited nearly 13 years.

Justice Minister Charles Alphonse Wright said he hoped the trial — set to begin on this year’s anniversary of the Sept. 28 massacre — “will revisit our history, our past, that we all emerge from this trial with a new vision of our Guinea.”

More than a dozen suspects including former junta leader Moussa “Dadis” Camara have been charged with crimes in connection to the massacre, but years had passed without a trial date ever being set. Last year, human rights groups complained there was “an evident lack of will to complete preparations.”

“This date that we have been waiting for a long time has come today. It was time for this trial to take place,” said Bissiri Diallo, who lost her 18-year-old son in the massacre. “We hope that all the truths will come out.”

“The death of my child at the stadium on Sept. 28, 2009 has extinguished forever a light in my soul,” she added. “I don’t feel any joy, any desire to live since that day. I hope that this trial will rekindle this light in my soul.”

Security forces that day opened fire at a stadium in Conakry where people were protesting then-coup leader Camara’s plans to run for president. Camara fled into exile after he survived an assassination attempt several months after the stadium massacre. Last year he finally returned to Conakry, where he told supporters he had faith in the country’s justice system and was “fully prepared to tell my part of the truth.”

For years Guinea’s government had sought to prevent his homecoming, fearing it could stoke political instability. However, another coup last year put a military junta in power that was more amenable to Camara’s return.

Camara’s junta says “uncontrolled” elements of the army carried out the rapes and killings. But Camara’s top aides were at the stadium and did nothing to stop the mass killings and rapes, a Human Rights Watch report said.

Human Rights Watch said its investigation showed that Camara’s red-bereted presidential guard surrounded the stadium where opposition supporters had gathered and blocked the exits. The troops entered and immediately opened fire on the crowd with AK-47s as panicked demonstrators tried to flee.

Many were crushed to death, while others were gunned down as they tried to scale the stadium’s walls.

Human Rights Watch also has said dozens of women were seized from the stadium where the Sept. 28 massacre took place and from clinics in Guinea’s capital, Conakry, where they were seeking medical treatment. They were driven in military vehicles to villas, where they were gang-raped by uniformed men over several days.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo: A delegate wears a hat with pins during the Republican National Convention Monday, July 15, ...

Christine Fernando, Steve People and Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Rep. Walsh speaks for Washington as cheering GOP delegates nominate Trump for president

Cheering GOP delegates formally nominated Donald Trump for president at Monday's Republican National Convention kickoff.

5 days ago

Photo: Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, right, points toward Republican presidential candidate former Presi...

Jill Colvin, Julie Carr Smyth, Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate

Donald Trump named Sen. JD Vance of Ohio as his running mate, choosing a onetime critic who became a loyal ally.

5 days ago

trump assassination...

Ayanna Alexander, The Associated Press

What to know about Trump assassination attempt and the investigation into the shooting

Authorities want to know how a shooter was able to get on top of a roof so close to where former President Donald Trump was speaking and open fire.

5 days ago

Photo: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret...

Julie Carr Smyth, Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump called for unity and resilience after an attempt on his life added fresh uncertainty to an already tumultuous presidential campaign.

6 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Sunday,...

Will Weissert and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

In primetime address, Biden says country must not go down road of political violence

President Joe Biden says “we can’t, we must not go down” the road of political violence in America after the attempted Trump assassination.

6 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference following the NATO Summit in Washington, Thu...

Zeke Miller, Seung Min Kim, Lisa Mascaro and Colleen Long, The Associated Press

Biden says during news conference he’s going to ‘complete the job’ despite calls to bow out

Biden used his highly anticipated news conference to deliver a defense of his policies and batted away questions about his ability to serve.

9 days ago

Guinea sets trial date 13 years after 2009 stadium massacre