GUINEA – Four doctors implicated in rape & death of young abortion patient in 2021 get heavy prison sentences in 2023

Image: M’mah Sylla’s relatives gathered at Conakry airport to receive her remains,
RFI, 23 Nov 2021.

On 4 April 2023, four men were sentenced in Conakry in the case of M’mah Sylla, a young woman who died in November 2021 after being raped by her “doctors” in an unsafe neighbourhood clinic. Her death had sent shockwaves through the country and “Justice for M’mah Sylla” has become an emblematic slogan in the fight against violence against women. The four men practised in a “clinic” not recognised by the order of doctors and were found guilty of rape and assault which led to her death. They were sentenced to terms ranging from 1 to 20 years in prison. But one of the four is still at large.

This conviction, described as “historic”, sends a message to the perpetrators of sexual and surgical violence: “…a beginning of case law by the judicial authorities to sanction this type of clandestine abortion,” the family’s lawyer said.

M’mah Sylla was raped several times by the very people she had come to consult for care, and then aborted in conditions unsuitable for surgery. Evacuated in a deleterious state to Tunisia, M’mah Sylla died on 20 November 2021, despite several operations to save her. She was 25 years old.

For Moussa Yero Bah, president of the NGO Women, Development and Human Rights in Guinea, these convictions are “a very important symbol” in a country where women are in danger in medical structures, at school, and even in the workplace, and within families.

SOURCE: RFI, 5 April 2023 (en français) + PHOTO: ©Matthias Raynal / RFI

PREVIOUS REPORTS: TV5Monde, En Guinée, le choc après la mort de M’Mah Sylla, violée par des Médecins, 11 November 2021 ; Death of M’mah Sylla: in Guinea, clandestine clinics proliferate. RFI, 18 January 2022.