19 jailed in Guinea over murder of public treasury head

A court in Conakry on Monday sentenced 19 people to jail terms of between 10 years and life over the killing of the head of Guinea's public treasury, who was gunned down in 2012 months after busting an embezzlement plot.

The accused were prosecuted for a range of crimes, including possession of weapons of war, armed robbery, complicity with murder and murder.

Their sentencing comes more than six years after the killing of Aissatou Boiro in Conakry by a group of assailants, one wearing military uniform, in a high-profile murder that rocked western Africa, which is plagued by chronic political violence and endemic corruption.

Seven of the defendants, including the accused assassin Mohamed Sankon, were sentenced to life in prison with a minimum period of 30 years, said Ibrahima Kalil Diakite the head of the tribunal in Conakry. Ten were sentenced to 20 years and two others were given 10-year jail terms.

The court issued arrest warrants for six fugitives, while one other accused died in prison.

A lawyer for the civil parties, Lancine Sylla, welcomed the decision.

"We think that with this deterrent sentence, criminality will recede in our country," he said.

Lawyers for the defence said they would appeal the decision.

Boiro was shot dead in her car on November 9, 2012, in a residential part of Conakry.

Hailed for her integrity and courage, the treasury director was responsible for foiling a plot to embezzle around $1.7m from the Central Bank by a network of people including several executives at the bank, the treasury and finance ministry.

The trial opened more than a year ago but had been suspended several times.

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