Guinea: 11 accused in Ebola worker deaths get life sentences

AP News
Posted: Apr 22, 2015 5:16 PM

CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — A Guinea court sentenced 11 people accused of killing eight Ebola health workers and journalists last year to life in prison on Tuesday.

Judge Mamadou Diop released 15 other suspects at the conclusion of the trial, according to state TV. The trial in the remote town of N'Nzerekore, about 900 kilometers (560 miles) from the capital Conakry, opened about a month ago.

The killings happened when a delegation of health care workers, including top health officials from the nearby town, visited the village of Womey in September to raise awareness about how to combat Ebola. They were attacked by a mob armed with knives and stones.

"They deserve the gallows," Cece Monemou, a parent of one of the victims, said on state TV after the sentence was announced on Tuesday. Prosecutor William Fernandez had requested the death penalty for the 11 suspects.

Defense lawyers told private Radio Lynx on Wednesday that they would seek an appeal with the Supreme Court.

The more than yearlong Ebola crisis is estimated to have infected more than 25,500 people and killed 10,500, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The killings highlighted the dangers faced by health care workers in the region. Residents in remote regions sometimes reacted with fear and suspicion to the unfamiliar, frightening disease ripping through their communities, believing that the virus had been brought in by outsiders.