Concerned Sierra Leoneans: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 July 2020:
In our press release dated 4th May 2020, we accentuated our horror and concern over the brutal intervention of heavily armed State House Presidential guards who opened fire on unarmed prisoners and prison guards with assault rifles, in an attempt to quell an alleged prison break at the Pademba Road Correctional Centre, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on 29th April 2020.
Although rumours were abound that the death toll was in excess of forty, of what many perceived as a ‘prison massacre’, the Minister of Information Mohamed Rahman Swarray claimed, on 29th April 2020, that there were only seven fatalities; five prisoners and two prison guards.
Ten weeks after the unfortunate killings at the Pademba Road Correctional Centre, the government now claims there were thirty one fatalities; thirty prisoners and one prison guard.
These disparities, inconsistencies and somewhat disjointed accounts of the incident by the Government of President Julius Maada Bio, has left more questions than answers – prompting us to call for a full Independent Public Inquiry.
In this regard and pursuant to Principle Six of the body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 43/173 of the 9 December 1988 which states that, “No person under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. “No circumstance whatever may be invoked as a justification for torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment.”
The people of Sierra Leone deserve to know the truth, so do the families of all those whose lives were brutally cut short on that fateful day, and only a full Independent Public Inquiry led by outside bodies with no special interests in the matter, such as Amnesty International, UN Human Rights Watch, African Union and other such organisations, will give credence to the findings.
In light of the above, we are therefore, calling on President Julius Maada Bio and his government to make provisions and set a date for the immediate commencement of a full Independent Public Inquiry. “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
Hoping to hear from you on the above at your earliest convenience and thanking you in advance for your kind considerations.
Concerned Sierra Leoneans
1. First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, UK
2. Minister for Africa, UK
3. Secretary of State for International Development, UK
4. UN Secretary General
5. Amnesty International, UK
6. ECOWAS President
7. UK High Commissioner, Sierra Leone
8. US Ambassador, Sierra Leone
9. African Union
10. US State Department
11. Her Majesty Opposition Party leader
12. Chairman of the UK Conservative Party
13. Commonwealth Secretariat
14. Speaker of the House of Commons
15. President of the UK Supreme Court
16. European Union
17. Harriet Harman, Chairman of the UK Human Rights Committee, UK Parliament
18. Neil Coyle MP
19. Leaders of the Liberal Democrats
20. First Minister of Scotland
21. First Minister of Wales
22. First Minister of Northern Ireland