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Human rights defender Konan Yao Hubert on trial

Status: 
Sentenced
About the situation

On 12 March 2020 human rights defender Konan Yao Hubert was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 3 million FCFA (approximately 4,585 euros) for “incitement and disturbance of public order” and “assault and battery of gendarmes on duty” by a court in Toumodi. His lawyer is planning to appeal the sentence.

On 30 October 2019, a closed hearing was conducted at the Tribunal of First Instance in Bouaké to try the case of human rights defender Konan Yao Hubert who has been charged with “incitement and disturbance of public order” and “assault and battery of gendarmes on duty”. The human rights defender was arrested on 4 August 2019 in relation to a protest that he organised with his community against the establishment of a nearby gold mine. Konan Yao Hubert was arrested at the bus station in Djékanou by police officers who did not present a warrant at the time of arrest.

 

About Konan Yao Hubert

Konan Yao HubertKonan Yao Hubert is a student, journalist and blogger based in Abidjan. Upon learning that the residents of N'da-kouassikro, his home village in the sub-prefecture of Djékanou, had not been informed of their rights concerning a planned gold mine, he began focusing his advocacy efforts in the region. He now works with the community to sensitise them to their rights and to teach them about how to defend those rights peacefully through advocacy with authorities, including by writing and sending petitions.

12 March 2020
Human rights defender Konan Yao Hubert sentenced to five years’ imprisonment

On 12 March 2020 human rights defender Konan Yao Hubert was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 3 million FCFA (approximately 4,585 euros) for “incitement and disturbance of public order” and “assault and battery of gendarmes on duty” by a court in Toumodi. His lawyer is planning to appeal the sentence.

The defender was arrested on 4 August 2019 in Djékanou in relation to a peaceful protest that he organised with his community in N'da-kouassikro against the establishment of a nearby gold mine operated by the company Mondial Mines. When he objected to attempts to arrest him because no warrant was presented, he was physically attacked by police officers. Konan Yao Hubert was put in preventive detention in the civil prison in Bouaké, where he was held in poor conditions. On 18 December 2019, he was transferred to Toumodi Civil Prison, where is currently being held.

Front Line Defenders is extremely concerned by the sentencing of Konan Yao Hubert as it believes that it is a direct result of his legitimate and peaceful activities in the defence of his community’s land rights. Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Cote d’Ivoire to immediately and unconditionally release the defender and quash his conviction.

6 November 2019
Human rights defender Konan Yao Hubert on trial

On 30 October 2019, a closed hearing was conducted at the Tribunal of First Instance in Bouaké to try the case of human rights defender Konan Yao Hubert who has been charged with “incitement and disturbance of public order” and “assault and battery of gendarmes on duty”. The human rights defender was arrested on 4 August 2019 in relation to a protest that he organised with his community against the establishment of a nearby gold mine. Konan Yao Hubert was arrested at the bus station in Djékanou by police officers who did not present a warrant at the time of arrest.

Download the Urgent Appeal

Konan Yao Hubert is a student, journalist and blogger based in the Cote d’Ivoire’s capital, Abidjan. On a recent trip to his home village of N'da-kouassikro, in the sub-prefecture of Djékanou, he learned about the planned gold mine, and discovered that the community had not been informed about their right to consultation in the planning and construction of the mine. Konan Yao Hubert started to work with the community to sensitise them to their rights, to teaching them how to defend their rights peacefully by undertaking advocacy, particularly by writing and sending petitions to the authorities.

On 3 August 2019, Konan Yao Hubert helped his community stage a peaceful protest in N'da-kouassikro against the opening of the gold mine, operated by the company Mondial Mines. Some protesters became violent when police attempted to arrest Konan Yao Hubert, who police officers had identified as the leader of the protest. Konan Yao Hubert remained peaceful throughout the entire protest and the police left the protest before they were able to arrest him. The following day Konan Yao Hubert went to the bus station as he planned to return to Abidjan to resume his studies. When police officers came to arrest him at the bus station in Djékanou, the human rights defender resisted arrest because the officers did not present an arrest warrant. When he resisted, they physically attacked him. Since his arrest, Konan Yao Hubert has been held in preventive detention at the civil prison in Bouaké where he is being held in poor conditions.

The community has taken a stand against the planned gold mining activities because of the company’s failure to adhere to the requirements set out in their mining permit as well as their concerns over environmental consequences such as the pollution of local rivers. On 16 July 2019, the Ministry of Mines and Geology decided to suspend the activities of the company until it conducted an environmental impact assessment and gained the consent of the community. Mondial Mines has yet to adhere to the suspension and continues to engage in illegal mining activities.

Front Line Defenders is concerned by the detention of human rights defender Konan Yao Hubert and the charges he faces as it believes he is being targeted solely as a result of his legitimate work defending human rights.