From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

UDM Condemns Banja Tejan-Sies Defence of Rado Yoki and Others
By Aruna Turay
Oct 12, 2011, 17:14

The newly accredited political party in Sierra Leone, the United Democratic Movement (UDM) has condemned the legal representation made by the National Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie Esq. in the ongoing criminal matter involving fourteen suspects for the alleged perpetration of violence in Bo City on September 9, 2011.


Addressing the press at the UDM Freetown Headquarters on Pademba Road on Tuesday 11th October 2011, the Chairman and Leader of the UDM Mr. Mohamed Bangura expressed disappointment over the conduct of the SLPP leadership in the ongoing court trial.  Mr. Bangura noted that the UDM is disappointed on the grounds that Lawyer Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie is leading the Defence team for persons who are standing trial for criminal offences relating to violence.


Bangura emphasised that the SLPP and the APC parties should not be seen defending people who have been charged with criminal offences.  He said if political party violence is to stop in Sierra Leone, political party leaders should take the onus not to openly show solidarity with suspects facing criminal charges. 


He said there is every need for party leaders to disassociate themselves from persons found wanting for bloody violence.  According to the UDM leader, none of the political parties instructed their supporters to burn political party offices or pelt stones on party leaders, so it is reasonable to say these political parties are not expected to be seen rallying support for suspected criminal offenders in the court of law. 


Mr. Bangura said those who bear responsibility of such offences should be condemned and their parties should disassociate themselves from the accused persons until the court of law proved them not guilty. He opined that for a leading SLPP political party executive like Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie to lead a Defence team facing criminal charges relating to violence is a clear manifestation that the party condones violence.


The UDM leader stated that the 14 accused persons are not facing political offences that should warrant any top party executive to rally round the accused persons.


He said the suspects are facing serious criminal charges that should have discouraged any responsible political party from associating with the alleged perpetrators.


UDM is calling on both the leadership of the APC and SLPP to make press statements disassociating themselves from those standing trials for the Bo/Kono fracas.  It will show whether they truly condemn the two incidents as a party, Mr. Bangura noted.


Meanwhile, Awareness Times will soon be interviewing Lawyer Sulaiman Banja-Tejansie for his reaction to the points raised by Mohamed Bangura.

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