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FROM OUR TEAM  

The Detained Maada Bio Supporters...Calling on Police Hierarchy
By Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Nov 29, 2012, 17:23
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Some Kenema based supporters of Julius Maada Bio, the former opposition presidential candidate (I say, former as we no longer have presidential candidates but a duly-elected sitting President) are being held in detention at the Freetown CID police cells, on allegations, which they claim as baseless.

 

I am speaking of the matter of employees of Julius Maada Bios erstwhile TROPIKAL FARMS who have been detained past the constitutional 72 hours. James Connor Kallon of 68 Dama Road, Ibrahim Sesay of 87 Dama Road, Mohamed Turay and Ibrahim Koroma are all being held in Freetown police cells on suspicion of plotting to destabilise Kenema with violence. They managed to contact me from their detention yesterday November 28th 2012 and are appealing for their sorry plight to be made known to the wider public. They vehemently deny allegations that they planned to attack a military post at Joru, Kenema.

 

Our laws and our Constitution are very clear on detentions. Subsection (3) of Section (17) of the Sierra Leone Constitution says if persons are not suspected of committing a capital, economic or environmental offence, they should NOT be detained past 72 hours without being charged to court.

 

Thus, there is no legal basis upon which these suspects are being detained. They were arrested on 20th November from the remote Perry Fefewabu in Kenemas Ghahula Chiefdom on to Kenema City and then on to Freetown; kept in detention for ten days now and have not been charged to court. Two of them have not even had statements taken from them! The residences of the suspects had been searched and so far, nothing incriminating has been found.

 

I am not holding any special brief for these four or more supporters of Mr. Julius Maada Bio. They might indeed have been plotting to undertake acts of violence and they might indeed be part of a wider plot to destabilise the country. However, they are citizens who have RIGHTS granted them under the Constitution. Their Rights under the Constitution must be observed and respected by the Police. If the Police is going to hold them for longer than 72 hours, there must be a Court Order warranting such or else, they are being unlawfully detained.

 

If these Maada Bio and SLPP supporters are being unlawfully detained, it is unhealthy and someone must tell the Police so. Detaining them like this is breeding needless bad blood. The Police should either charge the SLPP Maada Bio supporters to Law Court or release them now from police cells. The Police can ask for sureties prior to granting them police bail but their continuous detention in unpleasant police cells is totally unacceptable to our democracy.

 

I am sure this is something the newly re-elected President will frown at if he gets to learn of this. As Father of the Nation, he will certainly not like to hear of his subjects (whether opposition or not!) being so maltreated by the Police. I hope the Police hierarchy will take due action on this ongoing human rights abuse.


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