Guinea's ruling junta has ordered new charges to be brought against former president Alpha Condé, whom it overthrew in a coup d'état in 2021, for alleged acts of "treason", a letter from the justice minister to the Conakry public prosecutor said on Tuesday.
The former head of state from 2010 to 2021, who has been in exile in Turkey since he was ousted, is already being prosecuted for alleged "corruption", as well as "murder, torture, kidnapping and rape", in a country where the repression of political demonstrations is often brutal.
"You are enjoined (...) to initiate legal proceedings for alleged acts of treason, criminal conspiracy and complicity in the illegal possession of arms and munitions against Professor Alpha Condé, former President of the Republic", wrote Justice Minister Alphonse Charles Wright.
"It has been brought to the attention of the Keeper of the Seals (...) that Alpha Condé, in association with Mr Fodé Moussa Mara", a well-known blogger and supporter of Mr Condé, "has taken steps to obtain arms, ammunition and related materials", said Mr Wright in the public letter dated Monday.
He gave no further information about the nature or quantity of these weapons.
In 2010, Alpha Condé became Guinea's first democratically elected president after decades of authoritarian or dictatorial rule, but his desire to hold on to power to run for a third term sparked a strong protest movement that was heavily repressed until his downfall.
After the 2021 putsch, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya was sworn in as President and pledged, under international pressure, to hand over power to elected civilians within two years from January 2023.
He has promised to rebuild a state plagued by divisions and rampant corruption. His government has launched a large number of prosecutions against people close to ex-president Condé.
The coup d'état on 5 September 2021 is one of several putsches and attempted putsches that have shaken West Africa since colonels seized power in Mali in August 2020.