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Guinea president declares martial law

[JURIST] Republic of Guinea [official website, in French; US Department of State backgrounder] President Lansana Conte [BBC profile] declared martial law Monday after several days of violence left at least 27 dead. The rioting began Saturday after Conte appointed a close ally from the Guinea cabinet, Eugene Camara, as prime minister. Opposition leaders said the appointment violated an agreement struck with trade unions last month to share ruling power with the prime minister, accusing Conte of cronyism and alleging that Camara's close allegiance to Conte renders the agreement meaningless [IOL report].

The emergency declaration institutes a strict curfew and authorizes the military to monitor phone calls and to put under house arrest anyone who engages in activities against the state. According to the annual Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index [text] released in November, Guinea ranked as one of the world's most corrupt nations [JURIST report] in 2006. Conte said martial law will continue in the country through February 23. AP has more.

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