Breaking News: Lawyers in Freetown arrested for discussing president’s sacking of Sumana

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 March 2015

Police Inspector General - MunuThere are shocking reports from Freetown of the arrest and detention of one of Sierra Leone’s senior lawyers belonging to the Bar Association, at a meeting where they were discussing the decision of president Koroma to relieve vice president Sam Sumana of his duties contrary to the constitution.

The storming of the meeting by armed security militia is seen as a further attempt by president Koroma and his cronies to squash dissent and opposition in the country by the use of brutal force.

President Koroma’s decision is now widely regarded by all independent constitutional experts as unconstitutional and illegal. The president on Thursday appointed a new vice president.

Police brutality is not uncommon in Sierra Leone, but the use of police violence against peaceful barristers going about their constitutional duty has brought the country close to dictatorship and anarchy.

The Sierra Leone Telegraph has learnt that the country’s Trade Unions are discussing industrial action in protest at the constitutional crisis created by the president.

It is also understood that students are planning to take to the streets of the capital Freetown. demanding the rescinding of the unlawful decision to appoint a new vice president contrary to the country’s constitution.

The police say that the meeting was being held by the Bar Association in violation of the state of emergency regulation that is currently in force.

Lawyers protesting arrest of a lawyer2

But this argument is weak, and is evidence of selective justice by the police. On Thursday night, the ruling APC party held a political rally at its headquarters in Freetown, celebrating the appointment of the new vice president – Victor Foh.

Hundreds of jubilating party faithfuls attended that rally. Was this not a violation of the same state of emergency regulation?

The Sierra Leone Telegraph has tried to contact Inspector General Francis Munu for comments on the fate and condition of the barrister, who is being held behind bars, but to no avail.

Lawyers protesting after arrest of a lawyer

 

The Sierra Leone Telegraph will bring you more on this developing story as it unfolds.

5 Comments

  1. We are calling on the international community to step in, and ensure president Koroma reverse his illegal decision.

    We do not want to go back to the dark days of armed conflict, as this was the way it started.

    So please come and help us now!!

  2. The All People’s Congress is pushing the boundaries to see the extent to which the people of Sierra Leone at home and abroad will permit the party to usurp the executive powers of the state to its own nefarious ends.

    Evil always prevails when good men, women and children stay silent.

    Let us carefully consider the events of the past few weeks. First, a set of charges are made against the sitting Vice President by the political party of which he is a member. There is no due process being followed even the party’s own rules.

    The actions are carried while the Vice President had voluntarily placed himself under quarantine as a precautionary measure against the Ebola Virus Disease. Any self-respecting party functionary will make their allegations and allow the accused to respond to the charges.

    Very quickly, military personnel, who are not employed by the APC are sent to his official residence to remove and disarm his presidential detail.

    On what authority were the military acting, and how is the case against the Vice President, whether credible or otherwise, an issue of national security that merits the deployment of military personnel in this matter.

    When the military is allowed to gain a foothold in politics – do not be surprised when they begin to get ahead of themselves and seek power with the barrel of a gun.

    The Vice President in fear of his own safety, requests political asylum from the US embassy, but without assuring him of his personal safety if he continues in his position, the President moves to sack the Vice President who was not appointed but elected.

    The President appoints a new Vice President, without any reference to parliament to seek his approval.

    We have been down this road before and it led to the complete destruction of our constitutional process by the very same APC party and more than two decades of mis-rule, tyranny, theft and endemic corruption.

    The APC party usually starts this process by subjecting its own as sacrificial lambs, if they are seen to be in the way of their violent, destructive and selfish objectives. Mohammed Sorie Forna, Ibrahim Bash-Taqi and others paid the ultimate price in defence of democratic ideals and the rule of law.

    All of this was achieved because we chose as a nation to look the other way, in fear and in our own self-interest. The challenge for our future development is whether we are going to allow this to continue to happen.

    We need to say never, never, never again and in our name are we going to allow either APC or SLPP or any other vested interest to thwart our desire for self-realisation.

    If we remain quiet and do not support these brave lawyers who are protesting about the rule of law, we would only be compromising our own future and that of our children and future generations.

    We need our own Sierra Leone spring. Sierra Leone is a blessed nation, but would remain one of the wretched places on earth, if we do not challenge these actions through legitimate means of protest.

    • Sierra Leoneans should stand up by legal means to stop this constitutional violation, so that never again in the history of this country will this happen.

    • Suppression and oppression of the people may lead to the destruction of the nation. The People cannot remain silent forever. So let us be careful how far we can push them, because we may need them again.

      But pushing them this far, will only drag us back to the past. Caution is needed… Voice Of The People

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