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Guinea parliament rejects extension of martial law

[JURIST] Members of Guinea's National Assembly voted unanimously Friday to reject the request of Guinean President Lansana Conte [BBC profile] for an extension of martial law in the Republic of Guinea [government website, in French; US State Dept. backgrounder]. Conte declared [JURIST report] martial law in the country last week, and the measure is set to expire at midnight Friday. Conte said Thursday that he would seek an extension [Reuters report] from parliament.

Hundreds of civilians have been arrested [JURIST report] for opposing the government since Conte announced martial law February 12 in response to protests and strikes in opposition to Conte's continued rule. In addition to the lifting of martial law, opposition leaders are demanding a new prime minister before unions will end the strike. The emergency declaration instituted a strict curfew and authorized the military to monitor phone calls and to put under house arrest anyone who engages in activities "against the state." Guinea's military has been accused of firing upon unarmed protesters [HRW report] as well as beating and raping civilians. In November of 2006, Guinea was ranked as one of the world's most corrupt nations [JURIST report] by the annual Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index [text]. Reuters has more.

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