Former Guinean dictator Moussa Dadis Camara and several co-defendants were detained Tuesday, a day before their trial opens for the 2009 stadium massacre, their lawyers said.
Camara, alongside several of his associates including Colonel Moussa Tiégboro Camara and Claude Coplan Pivi, were indicted for their roles in the 2009 Conakry Stadium massacre and are set to appear in court for trial on rights violations.
The Public Prosecutor's Office said in a statement that the suspects were detained in line with the law that requires that an accused person spends at least a day in detention prior to commencement of their trial.
Camara led the 2008 coup became Guinea’s fourth head of state in the wake of the death of long-time leader Lansana Conteh who had led the country with iron fist for 24 years.
His administration had promised to hand over power to a civilian administration but it soon became clear that Camara wanted to stay in power by contesting the planned elections.
A major protest against that move was called in a Conakry stadium on September 28, 2009. Security forces opened fire on protesters leading to a bloody massacre in which dozens of people were killed.
A UN report put the death toll at least 157. It also said several women were raped.
On December 3, 2009, a close aide of his shot him in the head, leading to his evacuation to Morocco for treatment. He was replaced by his then deputy, General Sekouba Conate, as head of the National Council for Democracy and Development Junta. Camara was later ousted from power.
Guinea’s former President Alpha Conde came under pressure from rights groups and victims during his term to bring to justice all those suspected of being behind the massacre.
Camara, who had been living in exile in Burkina Faso since his ouster, visited Guinea and was detained three days later.
He and his co-accused were transported to the central prison in Conakry by a convoy under a heavy military escort, videos shared by the Guinean media show.
Sources said it followed their brief interrogation by prosecutors at a special court created purposely for their trial.
The former head of state is expected to appear in court on September 28, the 13 anniversary of the stadium massacre. He will be among the first of over a dozen accused to appear before the court in the much awaited trial.
Camara first visited Guinea in 2013, when he was allowed to attend the funeral of his mother.
Last December he made his second visit, following the overthrow of Conde. At the time, Camara said he supported calls for justice as he wanted to clear his name.