Joachim Bilimou, an
attorney in the country's appeals court, has cuts and bruises on his
eyes, face and neck after he was stopped and beaten on 15th
February afternoon by soldiers for failing to yield in traffic.
Lawyer Bilimou says he was driving on the freeway, when a military
truck pulled up behind him and honked at him to get out of the way. When
he didn't get out of the way fast enough, they forced him onto the
shoulder, pulled him out of his car and beat him, he told The Associated
Press by telephone on Thursday.
"They threw themselves on me, hitting me with their rifle
butts ... I am wounded on my face and my neck. My right eye is
swollen," Bilimou said.
Lawyers in Guinea have gone on strike to protest the beating of
the lawyer, on 17 th Févruary ,
shutting down the country's justice system to protest an assault on an
attorney by members of the military. They are expected to return to
work on 19th February , said Mohamed Keita, spokesman for a
national association of Guinean attorneys.
The incident is one of several instances of military abuse
reported in the two months since the army grabbed power in a Dec. 23
coup. Junior officers led by Capt. Moussa "Dadis" Camara
launched the coup hours after the death of President Lansana Conte, the
country's dictator who had ruled Guinea since 1984.
Although the coup was widely embraced in its early days after
Camara promised to crack down on corruption, there are increasing reports
of intimidation of civilians by members of the military. Numerous cases
of public beatings have been reported, including several involving
drivers who did not yield to military vehicles.
The National Council for Democracy and Development, or CNDD, which
led the coup could not immediately be reached for comment. "Every
day, the soldiers brutalize people ... They think they can do anything
now that they are in power. They are acting in the name of the CNDD and
of President Moussa Dadis. Civilians are no longer safe," said
Amadou Diallo, a local businessman.
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