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: