Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 May 2022:
Alhaji Kemoh Sesay, former transport and aviation minister in the Koroma-led government appeared at the magistrate court in Freetown today, after spending a few days in jail accused of insulting President Maada Bio.
Sesay was captured in a video which went viral on social media speaking to his supporters in Port Loko, where he described the president as a killer and a thief, accusations many in the opposition APC have thrown at the former military leader after dozens of unarmed prisoners were slaughtered in cold blood by presidential guards at the country’s main prison at Pademba Road in Freetown.
President Bio is being held accountable for the deaths of several people in Makeni and Tombo, where security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters. Critics of the president are also accusing him of the extra-judicial killing of dozens of people, after a military coup by soldiers under his joint-command in 1992.
Supporters of Kemoh Sesay (Photo) are calling on the Judiciary to throw out the case, claiming that Sesay was merely making “factual allegations” against the president.
Appearing in court this morning, Sesay’s lawyer – Charles Francis Margai heading a battery of fifteen defence Lawyers, requested bail whilst challenging the jurisdiction of the Magistrate Court.
Bail was granted in the sum of Five Hundred Million Leones, with two sureties, along with his travelling documents lodged with the courts. The case was adjourned to next Wednesday, 13th of May, 2022.
Sesay, was remanded in custody last Thursday by Magistrate Sahr E. Kekura (Photo) in Freetown, after answering to one count of Cyber Stalking and Bullying contrary to Section 44 (2) (b) of the Cyber Security and Crime Act of 2021 which critics say has now replaced the repealed criminal libel laws that, for over fifty years had been used by successive governments to curtail free speech in Sierra Leone.
According to the particulars of offence, “Kemoh Sesay between March and April 2022, through social media, via WhatsApp, in Port Loko District, Bakeloko Chiefdom in the Northern Province of the country, did wilfully and repeatedly communicate directly to the President, Dr Julius Maada Bio in a manner that he knows to be false, for the purpose of causing danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio or causes such a message to be sent.”