Public outcry over the cutting of popular musician’s dreadlocks by police in Freetown 

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 June 2022:

The Sierra Leone Bar Association yesterday published a statement expressing concern over the arrest, detention and physical abuse of popular musician Alhaji Amadu Bah (LAJ), who is reported to have had his famous dreadlocks chopped off by the police after his arrest. He is also believed to have been beaten and tortured by officers. The country’s Independent Police Complaints Board has today confirmed it is conducting investigations into the allegations of human rights abuse by the police.

Some reports claim that LAJ was injected with a poisonous substance at the CID and was later taken to the 24 Military Hospital. Speaking on AYV TV last weekend, LAJ’s father said that the police are refusing to grant access to his son. Several lawyers and the country’s Human Rights Commission also tried to gain access to LAJ in detention but were refused.

According to a press statement released yesterday, the Police Media Department said that it is the Standard Operating Procedure of the custody facility where LAJ is detained to shave the head of male suspects for health and other security reasons, and that this policy was explained to LAJ before cutting his dreadlocks.

But the police deny reports that LAJ was injected with a red substance while in police custody, contrary to allegations. LAJ is reported to have been arrested on Sunday, 12th of June 2022 in Freetown, after report of alleged robbery with violence was made to the police.

Reporting on the background to this story, this is what Abdul Hassan Fackie of 40 Acres Canada, said:

There has been a lot of speculation to the whereabouts and state of well-being of the popular Sierra Leonean hip hop rapper, Alhaji Amadu Bah aka Boss LAJ since he was arrested on the evening of Sunday, 12 June, 2022 on the allegation that he had been involved in an altercation and robbery with aggravation at a filling station in the west end of Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown.

The reports further stated that Boss LAJ was taken by a team of armed Operational Support Division (OSD)  Police Officers to their headquarters at Brookfields referred to by Sierra Leoneans as Benghazi.

During the week, information on the streets of Freetown as well as on social media claimed that LAJ has had his dreadlocks shaved off and a white liquid injected into his body. These allegations were however quickly denied by Police headquarters.

Family members, friends and fans of LAJ became more worried when it was revealed by his brother, Mr. Ishmail Bah told Sierra Leoneans via social media that he together with LAJ’s father as well as his Lawyer were not made to see the rapper when they went to see him at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) where the Police told them he was being held.

On Friday, June 17, reports circulated in Freetown that LAJ was on the night of Thursday, June 16, rushed to the 34 Military Hospital at Wilberforce in Freetown as it was alleged that his health condition had become critical.

A photo posted on social media shows somebody resembling LAJ lying comatose on what looked on a hospital bed being tended to by someone appearing like a Medical Doctor.

When 40 Acres Canada spoke to the Deputy Police Spokesman, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Sayoh Conteh, he stated that Boss LAJ was doing well. He maintained that his hair has not been shaved and that he was not injected with a red liquid. He explained that they were investigating LAJ for a report of assault as well as robbery with aggravation. He stated that at the end of the investigation he will be charged to Court to stand trial.

This is the statement below – published yesterday 19th June 2022, by the Siera Leone Bar Association: 

 

4 Comments

  1. I personally believe that late Haile Selassie and Bob Marley will be turning in their graves based on the fact that this so-called Rastafarian (Serial trouble maker) is misrepresenting their dreams and aspirations of their followers.
    Even our first Dreadlocks Minister Dr. David Sengeh who was appointed by President Bio, who believe that “a man should be judged not by his looks, but by his character”, will be shaking his head in disbelief. As the first Chief Innovation officer and the Minister of Basic Education for the flagship Free Quality Education program, he is the right representation and role model of Dreadlocks around the world.
    The ISU now SSD has always had their SOP which used to be more vicious under the One Party Dictatorship. Even the lawyers whose duty is to defend even a killer will attest to that. Thanks to the Almighty for the exposure and representation of our SSD as UN peacekeepers in our region under our democratic governments within the past 26 years, there are signs of improvements although there are still challenges.
    Finally, Police around the world are like the Weather, because they are easy topic to start conversations , based on the fact that people will always complain about the rain during the rainy season ( under the SLPP), also about the heat(under the APC), during the dry season. Unfortunately, “we can’t live with them and we can’t live without them.

  2. When a crying party supporters have no agenda to campaign or stand on, always blaming others and try to create anything, cursing using indecent and vulgar languages against the other side. 11 Consecutive year in power, ruling with an iron fist, sacking and firing the country’s elected fine Vice President without hesitation, breaking the country’s constitution/ rule of law, doing whatever you want. On the other hand, the man that just held the oval office the” STATE HOUSE”, not even 5 year yet. After you’ve dismantled and rip off the economy with no apology to the nation. If APC had something to say, folks let them campaigning with their achievements when they were occupying the state house, we are listening the 70s are gone would never be back, no more scared of anyone or fool. I swear to God, APC have no agenda or else they could have the hearts of win the voters instead.
    It is happening today now even if someone slaps another on the street, President “Bio” to be blame for that, folks this gentleman has nothing to do with whatever happened to our legend intelligent brother” LAJ”, if we are questioning the leadership of the country, then we get to understand it again that, the Almighty God the leader for the whole universe, here and hereafter, can we blame Him as well for everything?. I am talking directly to the voters, make your own judgement and vote for the right candidate.
    APC party itself not a bad one but it needs to make a huge changes or else, RIP comes 2023 general elections. Krio man say” kaka nor bad nar d scent”. One of APCs major problem right now, they don’t have or choose the right candidates yet to stands face to face with Bio. Lonta

  3. A tale of two cities .Freetown and FreaksTown led by a President that has no respect for the rule of law and the fundamental rights of his fellow citizens as is clearly stated in our Constitution .And every day we see how our criminal justice system been abused and dragged down by the very people that are supposed to up hold the law and protect us from the excesses of state power .During his four years of tenure in office and under his watchful eyes no one institution have come to symbolise this than our Sierra Leone police force that have abandoned its role as public service organisations and is now running riots with no oversight for their diabolical actions in helping enforce the abuse of state power..Whatever happened to the phrase an accused is innocent of a crime until proven guilty in front of a court of law .Meanwhile , Invidual rights and freedoms has been so eroded there is no way Bio can claim that our criminal justice system is working blindly for the interest of everyone.Here the rule of law and the right to Habeas corpus has been turned on it’s head .

    I don’t know this gentleman , Mr Alhaji Amadu Bah , and the nitty gritty of what he is accused of ,but whatever the outcome of this case , it should be noted that it is his fundamental rights that our Constitution protects everyone of us against unlawful and indefinite imprisonment.I don’t condone any illegal activities from anyone, if he is found to be guilty of what he is accused of , he should be prosecuted as stipulated by the law and punish accordingly .So far what we’ve seen is the laws of the jungle been applied by the Sierra leonean police which is not only against the law , and abuse of power and position, but their very actions made them liable charge as criminals in uniform themselves .By all standards the police should not behave like drunken thugs when they execute arrest warrants.If someone is accused of a crime , it is the responsibility of the police to investigate the crime , and where they found a crime has been committed , they should ensure the victim of the crime and the accused, persons is brought before a judge in a court of law to decide their guilt or innocence.Also the accused person has the right to their family and lawyer, whilst in detention .

    And is a matter of most not based on the whims of a corrupt chief superintendent that unfortunately the Sierra Leone police forces have built their reputation on. Right now the Sierra Loene police is acting like a judge , juror and executioner with out going through due process .The right of Habeas corpus has been a fundamentalal human rights instrument embedded in our Constitution to safeguard us against arbitrary power by the state .Once again we are witnessing how our justice system, works. If you are a resident of ” FreaksTown ” and with the right connection to State House ,clearly that’s what Freetown has become under Boi chances are you can literally get away with murder. We saw that happened at the beginning of this year a convicted murderer a popular herbalist and Killer of Mr Sydney David Buckle popularly known as DJ Clef ,was pardoned by the President.Mr Baimba Moiforay alais LAC who was initially sentenced to death in 2016 with two of his fellow murder suspect only to be changed to life imprisonment after the abolition of the death penalty in 2021 .Here again the work of senior officers and the ministry of justice and the Sierra Leone police force was all over the place . After a public out cry Bio was forced to rescind the pardon.But not after the murderer Mr Baimba Moiforay have left the country .Rumour has it he was given the heads up about Bio’s intentions to rescind his pardon enough time to make him flee from the punishment he deserve to be given again after Bio’s botched attempt to make him a freeman . .He was sentence to death later reduced to life imprisonment .He only serve six years .But the family of the Murdered Mr Sidney David Buckle have to grieved for their loved one for the rest of their lives .Where is the justice in Sierra Leone .One rule for others and one rule for the rest o us .

  4. Whatever happens in a home, a country, in a government, or any institution, tends to reflect the leadership in question. If mom and pap are disorganised, filthy and rude, there should be no question about why the children are the same. The same thing goes for a government. A thuggish, disorganised and a spatially disoriented government will preside over government institutions that blossoms in a similar environment.

    Bio’s leadership is a catalogue of violence, suppression of free speech, arbitrary killings of innocent people, intolerance, theft and manipulation of election results. The people of Sierra Leone are never consulted through a referendum when momentous policy decisions are to be made, such as the abolition of the death penalty – they’re simply a non-entity.

    In such a dispensation why should anybody expect law enforcement to respect the Rule of Law? The head of the police force, Sovula , is himself a criminal, prancing around with a false doctorate degree, which was awarded to him under a mango tree. The treatment of LAJ depicts an inspector-general and his gang of equally qualified thugs of men and women who always interprets the Rule of Law in reverse : Guilt before innocence. Sovula should be forced to read up once more on his basic training, that he and his bandits/terrorists are are law enforcers, not law interpreters. Only upon conviction that LAJ should have come under prison regulations, which may include the shaving of his dreadlocks. The Bio government and its apparatus are just becoming more dexterous in enraging the people of Sierra Leone every second of the day – an extremely bad omen for the 2023 general elections, which could descend into anarchy and blood letting as personal scores are settled.

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