Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 December 2015
The Campaign for Human Rights and Development Sierra Leone (CHRDSL) is calling the attention of the government of Sierra Leone to the continued unlawful, arbitrary and unjustifiable detention of over 78 innocent citizens by law enforcement officers.
CHRDSL is of the conviction that these citizens were arbitrarily arrested and have been detained unlawfully for over 84 months now without charges and have only attended trial once since 2007.
The unlawful detention of these citizens is violating their human dignity and destroying their lives. To detain citizens without charge and with no regard for due process is in clear violation of the laws of Sierra Leone and international Human Rights Law.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that no one may be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or imprisonment. All defendants have the rights to fair trial. In Sierra Leone today people are held without due process and prisoners are convicted in unfair trials.
Today is Christmas Day and Jesus would never have accepted or condoned this bad behaviour from those elected to protect the rights of the people.
As a policy advocacy and human rights organisation based in Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, one of our aims is to promote police accountability and respect for human rights and the enhancement of safety, security and justice.
We view the failure of the Government of Sierra Leone to uphold the principles of fundamental human rights as a contributing factor to making the justice system into a privilege for only the wealthy to access.
The time has come for us to engage in new conversations and to work together toward a common good for this and for future generations.
Sierra Leone is built and should be allowed to grow on the principles of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
We must find a way to uphold the balance of rights and freedoms with safety and security at the core. (Photo: Abdul Fatoma – Chief Executive of CHRDSL).
Some of the primary causes of our decade long civil war were fundamental grievances and social injustice.
But have we learned any lessons from our recent history?
Campaign for Human Rights and Development – Sierra Leone, calls on the Government of Sierra Leone to immediately release all detainees who have not been charged with legitimate criminal offences.
Those who are to be charged should be brought promptly before the court in compliance with the Laws of Sierra Leone.
We are also calling on the Sierra Leone Police Board to investigate cases of unlawful detention, and ill-treatment of prisoners by Police officers and ensure that those who are responsible for these abuses are brought to justice.
This statement was first published by CHRDSL on the 5th November 2015
The call by Campaign for Human Rights in Sierra Leone on the government to redress flaws in its democratic practices against the citizens, such as arbitrary detentions without charge, deserve sound echo to the ears of the international community, calling the attention of campaigners on human rights protection across the globe.
Sierra Leone presently is not totally a stable nation, coming from a post civil war in recent times, a war triggered by almost two decades of APC dictatorship. And the country is yet a fledgling democracy.
Enough had been learnt from that lesson. So, no government must take any chances to subdue the citizens in unlawful repression, as it could spark a social backlash.
This attitude of reprisal calls for every Sierra Leonean to speak up clearly against the abuse of power and reprisals against those perceived as opponents and the freedom of expression by the government.