FEBRUARY 16, 2005
Posted: February 23, 2005

Mohamed Lamine Diallo (also known as Benn Pépito), La Lance
Security forces arrested Diallo, known by his pen name Benn Pépito, at his home in the capital, Conakry. He was released on February 19, after three days in custody. Local journalists said they believe the arrest may have been linked to his journalism. Security forces searched Pépito’s home, but nothing was confiscated, local sources told the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Guinean security forces have arrested and questioned dozens of people following an alleged January 19 assassination attempt on President Lansana Conté, raising fears of a crackdown on the opposition.

After his release, Pepito told news reporters that he was detained on allegations of terrorism against the state and conspiracy in connection with the reported attack on Conté. He said he was also questioned about his relationship with the leader of an opposition party.

Guinean authorities are known to harass critical publications. The February 16 edition of Pépito’s newspaper, the private weekly La Lance, carried an editorial titled, “The situation in Lomé seen from Conakry,” which compared the situation in Guinea, where Conté has ruled since 1984, to that of Togo, where the army moved to install long-time ruler Gnassingbé Eyadema’s son as president following Eyadema’s death.