Sierra Leone Association of Journalists speaks about the arrest of Dr. Sylvia Blyden

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.

8 Comments

  1. Sylvia Blyden is not above the law. I’m sure in the West for instance, a person could be arrested on intelligence to help with an investigation, pertinent to that person activity which undermines the peaceful coexistence of the state. She has been a menace in trying to fuel social and political uprising in this precarious time in our country. Whilst, well-meaning and patriotic Sierra Leoneans are fighting tooth and nail to eradicate the scourge of Covid 19 from the midst of our people, she and her other political forces are determined to ignite conflict in the middle of a perilous pandemic.

    She should be ashamed of her actions! Long live our country Sierra Leone.

  2. Sahr Maturi I hope the current SLPP government will respect and honour the ruling/judgement of the ECOWAS court to your boss Chief Sam Ansumana and you need to do further studies about Common laws which is operating both in your current country of residence and Sierra Leone which is the law of persecuion.
    If your wishes/desires of being a journalist is that you are above the law and you can take the law into your own hands then you are joking. Do you know why there are traffic lights on the roads when you drive or driving by others it is because there is no absolute/total freedom or else the prevention of fatal route accidents/catastrope be it air, land and sea will continue indefinitely and safety/peace of mind will be compromised resulting to the survival of the fittest/fisted and law of the jungle

  3. Did I hear some Forumites talking about “a well balanced statement” and “listen to both sides of the coin”? This is just outrageous, appalling and ridiculous. The SLAJ strong man did not go as a journalist, investigator or mediator. He is not reporting anything. If you read the article, it was she said this or he said that.

    The investigator dealing with the case has no clue on what was going on at that point in time in my view. How can he say anything that will fly? Bottom line, Dr Sylvia Blyden was arrested unlawfully without evidence, will be released unconditionally, because she did nothing wrong. No matter what they do. If anyone is concerned with my comment, please send me a reply. God help some Forumites see things with common sense. God bless Dr Sylvia Blyden.

  4. In my personal opinion, the above statement is well balanced based on the fact that Sylvia Blyden has to make up her mind about what profession she really wants to practice.
    A medical doctor supposed to be ethical by reporting for duty during this trying time to save lives and not challenging the government to release private information of patients, or practice real journalism which requires publishing fair and balance information to the citizens by distancing yourself from any social media propaganda, or be a honest politician with a clean record of honesty rather than corruption.
    As the saying goes,- “ Jack of all trades is master of none.”

  5. Thanks to Mr Nasralla as president of SLAJ for your timely and objective intervention as you listen to both sides of the coin in this matter and proves your maturity and leadership in the best interest of your members. As the matter is under investigations let us be assured that this present day Sierra Leone is a democratic nation and is a member of the international community.


  6. He said they have not granted Dr. Blyden bail because “her case is very serious” and that they were still investigating”

    I am by no means close to being a legal luminary, however, before an arrest or long detention of an unarmed, non-flight risk citizen is executed, shouldn’t there be sufficient evidence at the exposure of the law authorities? Why imprison someone without criminal charges? This is nothing but political kidnapping. If you are still investigating, the legal procedure is to let her go, continue with investigation and revert back to arresting or charging her once you have enough evidence. As its stand, the basic human rights of Dr. Blyden are seriously being violated. Please charge her with a crime or give her back her FREEDOM.

    • Sierra Leone has been corrupted with politics and she’s one of the agents of corruption. She’s supposed to be locked up with her comrades. I hope Sierra Leonean journalists do not allow politics to affect their allegiance to the citizens of the nation in terms of quality news broadcast. Thanks.

  7. I hope the Sierra Leone association of journalists will have all the possibilities to find out the truth and bring it to the public. Otherwise it will be hard for Sierra Leone to find investors and tourists to visit your wonderful country after the lockdown.

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