From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

FROM OUR TEAM
Still on Wicked & illegal Police Detention of Four Supporters of SLPP’s Julius Maada Bio
By Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Dec 4, 2012, 17:17

In the early morning hours of today Tuesday December 4th 2012, at just a few minutes past midnight, I had cause to personally leave my house and go over to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Sierra Leone Police along Slater Terrace by State House, to verify for myself what seemed to be an unbelievable development going on in this beautiful land we call our Sierra Leone.

 

Before going further, let me point out that I have reproduced in this edition, a front page article I first published last Thursday November 29th 2012. After my publication, I did not follow up on the matter because I assumed given the gravity of what I had brought to light, the authorities would have speedily acted to ensure further abuse of the rights of these four persons, did not happen.

 

I was therefore shocked at around 10:30pm last night to receive a distress SMS text message from one of the wives of the detained suspects in Kenema. It read thus: “Mummy Sylvia, please my husband is sick and dying at Freetown CID. He is innocent but this Government wants to punish him for supporting Maada Bio. Please mummy save his life”.


I could not believe my eyes because if true, it then means Sierra Leone Police had detained her husband for 15 (fifteen) days now without charge in violation of our National Constitution. To make it worse, the detention has continued after media awareness had been raised on the matter. To make matters even worse, Koroma Government, which  is bending over backwards to sustain peace, law and order, was being blamed by the wife for the Police wickedness.

 

It was late at night but fortunately, I was able to reach a very senior Assistant Inspector-General (AIG) of Police. When I expressed how disturbed I was to learn the suspects were still locked up inside police cells, he vehemently denied to me that any suspect from Kenema was detained at the CID.

 

“All suspects arrested in Kenema have been charged to court. We do not have any such suspects from Kenema detained in any police cell in Freetown,” this Police AIG insisted last night.

 

This was around 10:30pm last night.


So based on the assurance from the Police AIG, I again contacted the detained men’s relatives to ponder on the matter. They again insist that the men were being kept in cells at the police’s CID in Freetown.

 

So to clarify matters, I personally drove to CID; arriving shortly after midnight. I was accompanied by one of the relatives of one of the detainees. He recounted of how since the four men were brought to Freetown on November 23rd 2012, (after being initially detained in Kenema since November 20th), the Police had not given them food or medical care and it was their relatives in Freetown who had been taking care of their feeding and medical care.

 

To cut a long story short, upon arrival at CID and conducting journalistic investigations, in these early morning hours, it was clear to me that the Police AIG I had just spoken to, does not know that four innocent persons from Kenema have been detained for 15 (fifteen) days now by the Sierra Leone Police, without charge, on flimsy allegations!

 

Our popularly re-elected President, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, easily has one of the best human rights legacies amongst all other current African Presidents. However, going by performance of this current bunch of police hierarchy, not only will they destroy Koroma’s APC-led Government’s legacy but they might cause this country to repeat the unfortunate steps which are recounted so well in the Report of Sierra Leone’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

 

James Connor Kallon of 68 Dama Road, Ibrahim Sesay of 87 Dama Road, Mohamed Turay and Ibrahim Koroma both of Kenema’s Circular Road, continue to be detained by the Sierra Leone Police for the past 15 days now on flimsy allegations of alleged “subversion”.

 

At the CID this early morning, I have learnt that the four men have no credible case to answer. Most shockingly, I have also learnt that all the detainees had been recommended to be released and taken back to Kenema but that Police Headquarters has not released money to buy petrol to fuel the police vehicle which should take these poor men back to Kenema. As a result, they continue to languish inside unpleasant police cells FOR FIFTEEN DAYS NOW! I am not exaggerating this point!!

 

I left the CID premises this morning with tears in my eyes. Is this my country? The only conclusion I can come to is that the Police hierarchy is either woefully incompetent or deliberately trying to stoke up unnecessary bad blood in this country even as the President is bending over backwards to promote peaceful co-existence and respect for law and order. Whichever is the reality, both scenarios are untenable.President Koroma deserves better than this nonsense!

Not only should these four supporters of Mr. Maada Bio be released forthwith but they should be financially compensated by the Police as dictated under Section 17.(4) of our National Constitution. It is time to restore respect for our Constitution.

In this same edition, we have carried the report of lawless SLPP supporters being charged to court in Kenema, prosecuted and sentenced to jail. I applaud such punishments within the law. However, illegal detentions should be strongly frowned at. I do hope the so-called “Human Rights Commission” can find a way to help with this matter. Human Rights issues go beyond agitating for Elections Nomination Fees to be reduced. Thank you!

CLICK HERE FOR THE FIRST COVERAGE
The Detained Maada Bio Supporters...Calling on Police Hierarchy
(Thursday November 29th 2012)



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