From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Afsatu Kabba
Scenes from Law Courts at Yesterday's Trial of Haja Afsatu Kabba in Sierra Leone
By Awareness Times
May 6, 2010, 17:10

The following are scenes from the Law Courts at yesterday's commencement of trial of Haja Afsatu Kabba. They depict State operatives within the Judiciary and Police, breaching the indicted woman's constitutional rights to a free, fair and open trial. Even the worst Treason trials in Sierra Leone have been held in Public. The cocaine trial never saw this amount of security presence and sheer brute force as was displayed yesterday at the Law Courts. The persistent harassment of supporters of the indicted woman did not affect the turn-out of her supporters at the Law Courts. If anything, yesterday recorded an even bigger crowd of Afsatu Kabba supporters at the Law Courts than the previous hearing. The supporters, like numerous journalists were blocked from entering the Law Court Building. However, Awareness Times Publisher Sylvia Blyden and her able, well-trained, skilled reporter, Bampia James Bundu Jnr. were savvy enough to by-pass the barricades, enter the Law Courts right into the well of the Courtroom from where we bring you some of the photos below.

Haja Afsatu Kabba walked quietly into Court behind her Lawyer, Foday Dabor very early in the morning hours

Haja Afsatu Kabba all alone in Empty Court

Supporters refuse to leave front of Law Courts and mill around Siaka Stevens St. Loyal supporters were refused access into the courts but did not leave. They instead were chanting Afsatu na we AKON! We go even pay money for see am!

Riot Police fight with APC supporters along State Avenue who wanted to enter the Court to witness trial Of Afsatu

President & some members of Sierra Leones Polio Victims Association arrived in solidarity & waited patientlyg

Lead Defence Counsel Blyden Jenkins-Johnston consoles Haja Afsatu Kabba to take heart as her constitutional rights to a Free, Fair and Open Trial were being breached

President & Secretary General of the National Union of APC Students managed to get pass the police barricade and enter the Courts well to give courage to Haja Afsatu Kabba before the trial started. They had been threatened with dire consequences by Presidents sister Admire Sesay if they supported Haja Afsatu

After the trial, President of NUAS, Alie Conteh and other University students walked Afsatu Kabba down the courts steps on to the streets to a loud roar of voiced applause from supporters who had waited hours under the hot burning sun for their dearly beloved Afsatu Kabba to emerge

Amputees and Polio Victims had also waited for hours out on the streets. As soon as Afsatu Kabba was spotted coming down the stairs, the disabled and amputees raised their clutches high in salute. Chairman of a Polio Victims Group had been assisted with employment through the recommendation of Haja Afsatu Kabba but he has since been sacked by the new Minister. The polio victims say if Haja Afsatus trial is not Open & Fair, they will never forgive for it

Supporters shown running behind the vehicle of Haja Afsatu Kabba after it drove off from Law Courts

Several minutes after Haja Afsatus vehicle had driven off, scores and scores of people still kept streaming past as Lawyers watched from all the Balconies of the Law Courts. Virtually all Court Sessions came to a complete standstill yesterday as the Law Courts were initially bolted down with padlocks and even after the Courts were opened, Lawyers & Spectators preferred to stand outside watching than go start court cases.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.