Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 October 2022:
Veteran human rights and constitutional lawyer – Barrister Ady Macauley (Photo above) spent last night behind bars in Freetown, after he was arrested by police following his appearance weeks ago on AYV TV, where he gave his legal interpretation of the country’s freedom of assembly laws to the anger of government officials and the ruling SLPP.
Lawyer Macauley’s arrest comes on the heels of the Mayor of Freetown Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr appearing at the police headquarters on Monday, for an eight-hour questioning, for alleged “obstruction of police duties and disorderly behaviour” at a police station where her fellow elected local councillor was being detained.
Aki-Sawyerr arrived at the police station for questioning on Monday at 10am and was released at about 6pm.
Macauley, who is a former head of the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission under the Ernest Bai Koroma led APC government, was banned from travelling by the incoming SLPP government in 2018, a decision that had since been revoked.
And in May 2020, Macauley was arrested for questioning following protests over the killing in cold blood of over 40 unarmed prisoners in Freetown by presidential guards.
But the political harassment, intimidation, wrongful arrests and incarceration of politicians with whom the SLPP government disagrees continue, raising worrying questions about the fast approaching general and presidential elections next June.
Reactions to Macauley’s arrest have been swift
Sierra Leone’s Legal Link Director- Rashid Dumbuya, said: “I have been reliably informed that Ady Macaulay Esq. may spend the night in detention at the Criminal Investigations Department. This is a worrying trend indeed and the Sierra Leone Bar Association must not be silenced on this. No government, SLPP, NGC, C4C, or APC must be allowed to treat a lawyer in this way for expressing his opinion on the law.”
Other prominent political commentators have also expressed strong comments about Macauley’s arrest and detention, and are calling for his immediate release:
Many Sierra Leoneans now believe that President Maada Bio is a political trojan horse and a dangerous wolf in sheep’s clothing that cannot be allowed to continue in power for another term of office next year. The former head of a military junta that deposed the APC government in 1992, killing dozens of people is seen by critics as a danger to Sierra Leone’s liberal democracy.