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Guinea's 2009 massacre: ex-dictator held in jail for trial

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 30, 2009 Guinea's military junta chief...   -  
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Guinea

The Guinean court that is trying Moussa Dadis Camara and a dozen co-accused for the September 28, 2009 massacre decided Monday to keep him in jail for the duration of his trial and to reject his placement under house arrest.

The court rejected all other requests made by the defence lawyers at the opening of this historic trial on the anniversary of September 28. 

It decided that the hearings on the merits of the case and the questioning of the defendants could begin.

The prosecution had imprisoned the defendants who were still free on the eve of the trial, including Captain Camara, who had been living in exile in Burkina Faso and had returned a few days earlier.

The lawyers of the former autocrat challenged his detention, and asked either for his release or his placement under house arrest, invoking the "respect" due to a former head of state.

The lawyers of another of the main defendants, Lieutenant Aboubacar Sidiki Diakité, alias "Toumba", former head of the protection unit of Moussa Dadis Camara, have asked for the medical evacuation of their client, imprisoned since 2016 and sick according to them. He appeared very weak at the opening of the trial.

The president of the court, Ibrahima Sory Tounkara, replied on Monday that under the code of criminal procedure the accused were required to be detained the day before their trial and that the house arrest measure was only applicable to foreign detainees.

As for Aboubacar Sidiki Diakité, he "did not provide any medical document to support his request for medical evacuation", he said.

The court "rejects the request for the release of the defendants, for house arrest of Moussa Dadis Camara and for medical evacuation of Aboubacar Diakité known as Toumba," he said.

It "orders the opening of the proceedings on the merits".

Captain Camara and a dozen former military and government officials are charged with a litany of killings, rapes, torture and looting committed during the crackdown on an opposition demonstration on 28 September 2009 and the following days.

At least 156 people were killed and hundreds injured and at least 109 women were raped, according to the report of a UN-mandated international commission of enquiry.

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