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Sierra Leone News Publisher Calls on Bar Association to Advise President
By Abdul Fonti
Sep 14, 2009, 23:23
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Sierra Leonean Civil Society activist and Publisher of Sierra Leones most widely read newspaper has made a formal call on the President of the Sierra Leone Bar Association who also doubles as the acting Prosecutor of the UNs Special Court for Sierra Leone, to take steps to, "help ensure that the sacred doctrine of Separation of Powers in a Democracy are upheld within Sierra Leone".

In her September 11th 2009 Letter to Mr. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, Publisher Sylvia Olayinka Blyden has alerted the Bar Association to a flagrant move by certain persons at the Office of the President to disrespect the independence of the Sierra Leone Judiciary in carrying out its duties. Blyden cited a letter purportedly sent out in the name of the President of Sierra Leone to local journalists which contained an implicit assurance that a Presidential intervention into the Judiciary had determined the precise timing of an awaited Supreme Court ruling even before the Supreme Courts Registry had announced any such time or date.

According to Sylvia Blyden, it was "extremely frightening" for ordinary citizens to suddenly realise they are now living in a country where the Presidency is assuming powers it does not legitimately possess to the extent of even abrogating to itself the authority to impudently announce when rulings are to be expected from the countrys Supreme Court.

Dr. Sylvia Blyden is shown here yesterday September 13th 2009 at the Law Courts Building shortly after the Judiciary's Asise Service as she makes her points about the latent dangers in allowing the Presidency to openly interfere with seeming impunity into the operations of the Judiciary

Sylvia Blyden also cited instances of what could appear to be overt political influencing of activities in the Judiciary as, "worrying signs that our democratic values are under serious threat in this current dispensation".

"How can we expect investors to come here with their money when the President, a non-legal mind, is seemingly taking upon himself to dictate his own brand of justice within the corridors of our Judiciary? How can we speak of a functioning democracy when the perception of Executive interference into Judicial procedures is now widespread?" Blyden asked as she strongly urged members of the Bar Association to "wake up from your slumber and help save this our land from sliding backwards to that terrible place from where we have only just succeeded to come from".

"I am strongly urging, in the name of all what this country has strived to achieve and in memory of all those whose blood were shed for democracy to thrive, for the Sierra Leone Bar Association to take steps to advise the President of Sierra Leone as to where his powers are limited. This should be preferably as an open press release that would also help educate the citizenry as to the importance of upholding true separation of powers," Sylvia Blyden wrote to the Bar President adding that, "the Attorney General does not seem to be able to give the required advise to the Presidency that one would have expected from an Attorney-General with his decades of legal experience".

The Full Text of the Sylvia Blyden letter to the Bar Association President will be published tomorrow.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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