Ahmed Sahid Nasralla: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 03 May 2020:
Following allegations that the Publisher of Awareness Times newspaper, Dr. Sylvia Blyden, was arrested because of her critical and controversial publications and postings on social media, we visited the CID yesterday, Saturday, 2nd May, 2020 at around 5pm to find out what actually were the charges against her.
The investigator dealing with Dr. Sylvia Blyden’s case, EK Allieu, could not tell us the charges against her as they were “still investigating”.
He also said they have taken Dr. Blyden’s mobile phone and personal computers and submitted to the Cyber Unit as they were also investigating her for Cybercrime. (Photo: SLAJ President Nasralla – left, with President Bio – right).
He said they have not granted Dr. Blyden bail because “her case is very serious” and that they were still investigating.
However, myself and my Secretary General were allowed to see Dr. Blyden in her cell for about 10 minutes.
Dr. Blyden told us she was “captured” and “kidnapped” from her residence and was never told she was under arrest.
She said the Police have still not told her why she was being held in custody, other than being asked “why I was so critical of the government and writing to incite the populace”.
She complained that she spent the previous night “with hard core criminals brought in from the Pademba Road Correctional Center in a cell specifically meant for females”. But the CID official with us during the meeting denied any knowledge of such and claimed that would never happen.
Dr. Blyden said as far as she was concerned it was just intimidation and an attempt to shut her down.
We encouraged her to be strong and to cooperate with the investigation.
We assured her that we are fully following the matter to find out if it actually borders on her right as a citizen to freedom of expression.
We also assured her that we will engage with the authorities to ensure she gets bail and a fair investigation.
About the author
Ahmed Sahid Nasralla is the National President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists.