Guinea's ex-junta leader denies charges in stadium deaths

AP News
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Posted: Jul 14, 2015 4:30 PM

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Guinea's ex-junta leader has denied the charges brought against him during indictment hearings for the killings by the presidential guard in 2009 of more than 156 people at an opposition rally, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Moussa "Dadis" Camara, who is in exile in Burkina Faso, was indicted last week and has been in hearings with Guinean magistrates in Burkina Faso.

"He doesn't recognize the facts brought against him, but as president of the republic at the time of the events, he assumes complete moral responsibility," lawyer Jean Baptiste Haba told The Associated Press.

The charges against Camara include complicity in murder, looting, assault and rape; failure to assist a person in danger; and commanding responsibility as a military leader and superior head, Haba said.

The magistrates, who flew in from Guinea, will determine the next steps, Haba said.

"If they think there are still some clarifications to make, they will ask for another hearing," he said.

Camara seized power in a 2008 military coup. In September 2009, the presidential guard opened fire on thousands of protesters gathered in the national soccer stadium to demand Camara's resignation. Soldiers killed at least 156 people and raped more than 100 women, according to rights groups.

Camara was shot in the head a few months later by a top aide, and went to Burkina Faso as part of a peace deal.

The indictment will not stop his political ambitions, Camara's lawyer said. Camara started a new political party and says he wants to run in the upcoming presidential elections. His lawyer said Camara may travel back to Guinea next week.

"He is presumed innocent," his lawyer said. The only thing that can deprive him of his civil and political rights would be a definitive sentence," Haba said.