In Burkina Faso, lawyers on strike to demand the release of their colleague Guy Hervé Kam

Lawyers in Burkina Faso observed a work stoppage on Thursday, February 15, to demand the release of one of their colleagues, kidnapped at the end of January by men in civilian clothes and detained by the Burkinabe authorities, noted an AFP journalist

In Burkina Faso, lawyers on strike to demand the release of their colleague Guy Hervé Kam

Lawyers in Burkina Faso observed a work stoppage on Thursday, February 15, to demand the release of one of their colleagues, kidnapped at the end of January by men in civilian clothes and detained by the Burkinabe authorities, noted an AFP journalist .

“The Council of the Bar Association, in its extraordinary session of February 7, 2024, decided to observe a work stoppage on Thursday February 15 throughout the territory, as part of the actions taken to demand the release unconditionally from their colleague Guy Hervé Kam", wrote President Siaka Niamba in a press release: "Lawyers are therefore invited to refrain from participating in hearings before all courts without exception. »

Responding to his call, Burkinabé lawyers deserted the courts and the lawyer's house in Ouagadougou on Thursday. The courtrooms of the capital's high court remained empty, AFP noted.

Guy Hervé Kam, kidnapped on the night of January 24 to 25 at Ouagadougou airport by men in civilian clothes, has since been detained in state security buildings, in “deliberate and reckless disregard of the provisions guaranteeing the freedom and independence of the lawyer and the bar", according to the Bar Association of Burkina Faso.

A former minister kidnapped

He is particularly known for having been the lawyer for the family of Thomas Sankara, former head of state (1983-1987) killed during a coup d'état perpetrated by his successor, Blaise Compaoré. A former magistrate, Me Kam is also a leader of civil society. He notably co-founded Citizen Balai, a movement which played a key role in the fall of Blaise Compaoré's regime in 2014.

Several cases of kidnapping of votes considered hostile to the military regime led by Captain Ibrahim Traoré, in power since a coup in September 2022, have been reported in recent months in Ouagadougou. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Ablassé Ouédraogo was kidnapped at the end of December and the former chief of staff of the gendarmerie, Lieutenant-Colonel Evrard Somda, in January.

The transitional government claimed in January to have foiled “yet another attempt at destabilization” and launched a hunt against a network involving soldiers and civilians. Since 2015, Burkina Faso has been facing jihadist violence attributed to armed movements affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, which has left nearly 20,000 dead and more than 2 million internally displaced.