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Guinea jails protest leaders for up to 12 months

Lawyers for the defendants said they would file an appeal. Three other defendants were found not guilty.

FILE: Protesters clash with anti-riot police in a street in Conakry, Guinea on 13 March 13, 2018 during a demonstration against President Alpha Conde. Picture: AFP

CONAKRY - A court in Guinea's capital Conakry on Tuesday handed down jail terms of up to a year against the leaders of protests this month that have claimed up to 10 lives.

Abdourahamane Sanoh, coordinator of the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), an alliance of opposition groups, was given a 12-month term, and four other leaders were sent down for six months.

They were found guilty of initiating a wave of unauthorised protests on 14 October that brought much of the West African state to a standstill.

The opposition says 10 protestors have been shot dead by police in successive days of clashes. The authorities put the toll at eight, plus a gendarme.

Dozens of people have been injured.

Lawyers for the defendants said they would file an appeal. Three other defendants were found not guilty.

The prosecutors had sought maximum sentences of five years for seven of the accused and fines of two million Guinean francs ($190, 194 euros).

The protests have been stirred by speculation that Conde, 81, plans to change the constitution in order to overcome a ban on seeking a third term in office.

A former opposition figure, Conde became Guinea's first democratically elected president in 2010.

But critics say his rule has become increasingly authoritarian. About 100 demonstrators have been killed by police gunfire since he came to power, according to the opposition.

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