Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 August 2019:
Sierra Leone’s main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) Party is today condemning the arrest and incarceration of its members and supporters by the police.
Writing in a public statement published yesterday, the party’s National Secretary General – Alhaji Dr Osman Foday Yansaneh refers to the arrest as unjust and indiscriminate. He calls on the international community to act.
This statement comes as the chairman of the Western Area Rural District Council – Mr Kasho Holland Cole (Photo – dressed in blue), who is also a senior member of the APC party, was released on bail today, after spending a few nights at the maximum Pademba Road Prison, for alleged riotous and violent conduct.
Twenty-three other APC politicians are being held in prison on similar charges, including the former Mayor of Freetown – Herbert George Williams, who was arrested yesterday and refused bail.
This is what the APC party’s National Secretary General – Alhaji Dr Osman Foday Yansaneh said:
“The leadership and entire membership of the All People’s Congress (APC) Party wish to draw the attention of all peace loving Sierra Leoneans and the International Community to the new pattern of unjust and indiscriminate arrest of peaceful and law abiding members of our revered APC Party on trumped up charges.
These members have been detained for varying periods and most of them refused bail contrary to Section 17 of the 1991 Constitution of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
The public would recall that on 31st May 2019, the Sierra Leone Police raided the offices of our Party and brutalized our members that were barricaded there. As if that was not enough, they went further to arrest and detain about 145 of our members for several days at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
47 of them were subsequently charged to Court without any hearing to date which in itself is a violation of their right to fair hearing within a reasonable time as guaranteed under Section 23 of the 1991 Constitution.
Since that barbaric attack by the SLP, the Publicity Secretary of the APC Mr. Cornelius Deveaux is still at large and we continue to fear for his personal safety and security.
Similarly, on the 29th July 2019, a day set aside by the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) for our APC Party to organize a rally in support of our candidate for the Re-run elections in Constituency 110, our supporters were attacked by members of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) who were not supposed to rally on that day. (Photo: APC National Secretary General – Yansaneh).
Following that incident, the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) arrested and incarcerated 23 supporters of the APC including a 73 year old man, a sick young man that was severely beaten and brutalized in the home of the SLPP candidate (video of the incident is available on social media), and a former Minister that had gone to the Adonkia Police Station to report the unfortunate incident.
All but one of them are still incarcerated at the Pademba Road Maximum Security Correctional Services Prison awaiting trial. The decision by the Magistrate to refuse them bail is in clear breach of their fundamental human rights.
On 13th August 2019, the Chairman of the Western Area Rural District was arrested and detained on similar fabricated and trumped up charges. He has been refused bail repeatedly and as we issue this statement, he is still detained at the Pademba Road Maximum Security Correctional Services Prison.
Today 19th August 2019, the SLP have again arrested the former Mayor of the Freetown City Council. He has since been charged to court and detained.
There is also a long list of other senior members of the APC Party that reports say are next in line to be arrested and detained for similar reasons.
The APC Party wishes to let all Sierra Leoneans (at home and abroad) and the international community know that the SLPP Government is now using the Sierra Leone Police to wage war on the APC.
This incessant savagery meted out on our members and the accompanying acts of intimidation and threats are becoming unbearable for our Party.
The APC Party wishes to make it known that such acts threaten the peace and stability of this country and undermine the basic tenets of democracy and good governance that we have all fought so hard to nurture and sustain.
It is now apparent that these actions by the SLP under the watch of the SLPP Government are clearly designed to ensure that our voters in Constituency 110 are disenfranchised by forcing them to run away from the Constituency and seek refuge in faraway places for fear of being arrested and detained.
The Leadership of the APC is hereby calling on the international community and especially our moral guarantors to bring pressure to bear on the SLPP Government and the SLP to stop these senseless moves that have the propensity to degenerate into sustained acts of violence that could threaten the peace and stability of this country.
Signed: Alhaji Amb. Dr. Osman Foday Yansaneh, National Secretary General, APC, 19th August 2019.” (End of Statement).