From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Sierra Leone Politics : As Human Rights & SLPP Court Cases Start, Sylvia Blyden Urges Journalists to cover Kenema
By Awareness Times
May 6, 2015, 17:12

Sierra Leone politician Dr. Sylvia Blyden who is also noted as a youths rights, gender rights and human rights activist as well as newspaper publisher, has, on 5th May 2015 written on Facebook, a call on journalists and concerned citizens to focus attention strongly on eastern city of Kenema; especially during ongoing court cases of Human Rights Officer for Eastern Region and his co-accused opposition SLPP party members. They are all charged with various public disorder and other criminal offences including breaches of the State of Emergency.


“When I called on journalists to strongly focus on the Ebola crisis exactly one year ago in May 2014, my political detractors teamed up with some unpatriotic journalists to downplay the urgency of the situation. Some unscrupulous media houses even collected cash to ridicule the seriousness of my calls about Ebola,” Dr. Blyden wrote.

She continued: “Now, I have spent the last two days in Kenema. I visited the Kenema Male Prisons and Kenema Female Prisons where I met and spoke to some of the remanded accused persons. I visited the Police Regional Headquarters where I spoke to the AIG East, the LUC Kenema and the OSD East Commander. I have held series of meetings with other stakeholders in Kenema which meetings will continue Wednesday (today). All the versions of what transpired are sharply different. Therefore, only a publicly held Court Case can unravel what happened here on April 27th 2015.”


She then publicly urged: “In this light, I am now calling on all patriotic Sierra Leone journalists to pay keen attention to these court cases. Furthermore, if it is possible, I am going to appeal to the Judiciary and Attorney General for these trials to be given live publicity and aired on radio stations nationwide so every citizen and our friends around the world can follow the matter in court and not have to rely on subjective or biased reports”.


She gave her reasons to be: “Those of us who know the political & propaganda History of Sierra Leone know why these particular court cases in Kenema must be handled very fairly and transparently. The next hearing is slated for Friday 8th May 2015 and I urge for media in and out of this country to sharply focus on Kenema that day.”


It can be recalled that all the accused persons were arrested on 27th April 2015, the 54th anniversary of the country’s Independence, during and following a riot that broke out at SLPP office. They were then charged to court. The State is taking the matter with such seriousness that Director of Public Prosecutions Sulaiman Bah is leading the prosecution in presence of the Deputy Justice Minister Arrow Bockarie.

Sylvia Blyden leaves Kenema for Freetown today.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.