Sierra Leone drags American Ambassador’s opinion to court in seditious libel diplomatic bungle

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 September 2020:

Court and police records diligently examined by Sierra Leone Telegraph correspondents in Freetown, shockingly show that during yesterday’s (Monday 21st September 2020) hearing of the matter between the State versus Dr. Sylvia Blyden, the Sierra Leone Government tendered an opinion piece personally authored by the United States Ambassador – Maria Brewer (Photo above), as one of their evidence of “seditious materials” and “incitement” found on the Facebook page of female Sierra Leone journalist, Dr. Sylvia Blyden.

Just when one believes that the Sierra Leone Government cannot go any lower in their desperation to get something criminal to harass female journalist and politician Dr. Sylvia Blyden, they managed to find a way to lower the bar.

This time, the Government’s lawyer, Yusuf I. Sesay Esq. of the Attorney General’s Office led a State Witness, Police Detective 588 Alpha Sesay of the CID’s Cyber Crimes Unit to tender several materials printed out from the Facebook Page of Dr. Sylvia Blyden.

Among the tendered materials examined yesterday by the Sierra Leone Telegraph, were exhibits marked as DD and EE which contained printed pages of an April 28th 2020 Opinion piece written and published by the American Ambassador.

According to the State’s case against Dr. Blyden (Photo), the Opinion written by America’s Ambassador are, in the words of the police detective, “part of the seditious materials recovered from the Facebook Page of the First Accused Dr. Sylvia Blyden”.

The printed copies tendered as part of the bundle of Exhibits DD and EE, had several of the sentences of the Op-Ed written by the American Ambassador highlighted with bright yellow marker as being “incitement” and other parts of the piece were highlighted as being “seditious”.

It can be recalled that on April 28th 2020, Ambassador Maria Brewer sent out her personally written article to various Sierra Leone newspapers; a copy of which was forwarded to the Sierra Leone Telegraph as well. A screenshot of the email sent from the U.S. Embassy can be seen below:

Back then, on April 28th 2020, many Sierra Leonean citizens immediately reshared the Opinion of the American Ambassador on social media and Dr. Sylvia Blyden was one such person who reshared the Opinion on her Facebook wall, whilst clearly stating the piece was written by US Ambassador Maria Brewer.

Well, according to the Government of Sierra Leone’s case against Dr. Blyden, the words of the Ambassador of the United States of America are “seditious libel” and “incitement” – so, since Dr. Blyden reshared the American Ambassador’s Opinion on her Facebook Page, she is accused of having committed Seditious Libel and Incitement.

It can be recalled that Dr. Blyden was arrested from her residence on May 1st 2020 – two days after the American Ambassador’s Op-Ed article was published on April 28th 2020.

When the Sierra Leone Telegraph contacted the U.S. Embassy in Freetown for their reaction to this scandalous diplomatic embarrassment now facing the American Ambassador, the Embassy officially told Sierra Leone Telegraph that for obvious reasons, they had “no comment” to make on the Seditious Libel case that has now dragged the written words of the top diplomat of America into the courtroom.

However, a senior source at the U.S. Embassy who asked not to be named expressed serious dismay. The diplomat told Sierra Leone Telegraph that they were “shocked to see that an op-ed which everyone knows was written by Ambassador Maria Brewer and was merely re-posted verbatim by Dr Blyden on Facebook, can now be tendered in court as evidence of seditious libel and incitement”.

Interestingly, Sierra Leone recently received applause for supposedly repealing the country’s Seditious Libel Laws. This means nobody should be tried under such outdated and ancient laws.

Why Dr. Sylvia Blyden is still facing these seditious libel charges and why the Government of Sierra Leone has seen fit to breach diplomatic protocol by openly tendering the words of the American Ambassador as evidence of “seditious” and “incitement” is not known.

A source at the Law Officers Department bitterly complained to the Sierra Leone Telegraph that the case against Dr. Sylvia Blyden has caused tremendous collateral damage to President Bio (Photo) and his Government since May this year.

“Every day that this Sylvia Blyden libel case drags on, brings fresh embarrassment for us as a Government. Parliament has repealed the Seditious Libel Law, so I don’t know why they are pushing it still. People blamed Priscilla Schwartz and Adrian Fisher, but they are both gone and the case is still continuing in court and still creating so much embarrassment for us. So much embarrassment! Every day, new embarrassment! How can we accuse the U.S. Ambassador of writing Serious Libel and Incitement against Sierra Leone Government?” the senior state counsel lamented on condition of anonymity.

Please visit the following link to read the actual Facebook post that was printed and tendered, yesterday Monday 21st September 2020 at the Law Court of Sierra Leone as “seditious material” and “incitement”.

https://www.facebook.com/soblyden/posts/3303958279633958/

6 Comments

  1. One may be tempted to ask, why is Dr Sylvia Olayinka Blyden’s case of seditious libel is still lingering on, even after the repeal of part 5 of the Public Order Act (POA), which criminalizes libel as seditious, or a crime against the state. The answer is simple. Dr Sylvia Blyden has miserably failed her assignment – purportedly given to her by the notorious and deceitful SLPP – to blackmail the APC, and in particular former President Earnest Bai Koroma. What a pity: the fear of Pademba Road prisons has made this bubbly and talented woman to betray her comrades and throw away her chances of securing the flagbearership of the APC.

    Dr Blyden is now living in suspense – apparently being rejected by her comrades, and facing the prospect of spending another spell of enforced solitary confinement. The SLPP are still rubbing their nose after the unfavourable outcome in the Paolo Conteh treason trial. Another devastating blow in Dr Sylvia Blyden’s trumped-up case, without any consolation, will undoubtedly shatter their morale. In the midst of all these political battles, the SLPP is determined to use Dr Blyden as a TROJAN HORSE. Thus, with the help of a perverted Judiciary, the outcome of Dr Blyden’s case is anyone’s guess.

    Notwithstanding, the inclusion of the American Ambassador Maria Brewer’s opinion into this murky political equation is beyond comprehension. What is clear is that the repeal of part 5 of the POA by the SLPP was done with hindsight, as a result of constant pressure from international forces. It is ironic to continue to use this obnoxious section of the Act after its repeal – though not surprising, as the SLPP has broken all the rules in the book in order to suppress the APC. The general public is anxiously waiting for the conclusion of this case against the radical and outspoken Dr Sylvia Olayinka Blyden.

  2. Its all a mindless charade by a bunch of loony masqueraders hell bent on destroying the image of our beautiful Sierra Leone. Answer – now that the notorious SLPP has arrogantly dragged our fragile struggling nation into the disgusting sewers of abject degradation and baffling humiliation, where then do we go from here? These men are no ordinary criminals! Without any doubt they have been scrapped from the bottom of the barrel of gross indecencies, dishonesty, and wickedness.

    Sierra Leone we have a big problem in our hands to deal with. Please be duly informed that these swindlers and fraudsters have already thrown civility and responsible governance out the window and have now resorted to using shady subtle tactics – bulldozing and intimidation of our friends. This President and his henchmen are fully aware that Madam Brewer enjoys diplomatic immunity and therefore cannot be touched – eventually they are going to lead their incompetent delusional selves towards a dead end with nothing of benefit whatsoever to to show for their inconsequential, derisory efforts.

    What a bunch of losers! Instead of building bridges they are burning them down ,and these SLPP dummies are experts at hewing down trees of goodwill and consideration that have been giving us unfailing assurances, and protection from social, economic and political upheavals for countless years gone by. Dazed and confused losers, that’s who they are – miserable to the bone and marrow – to the innermost core of their shady, tribalistic tobacco-chewing, unthinking, obstructive beings.(lol)

  3. An exhibit tendered and marked with exhibit number is kept under seal until the case is concluded both at trial and appeal stage. In Sierra Leone however, people have become so unprofessional because of politics that they do not mind dragging their jobs to the gutter. Only the clerk of the court or registrar has access to court exhibits that have been tendered. So who is it that gave the file to the correspondent of the Sierra Leone Telegraph? It is easy to find and out such persons and as it has become reminiscent of late when such persons are transferred or shown the door, the tribal card is played. How I hope that the writers of such articles can protect their sources of information better. I hope that the editor would not view my post as impugning the credibility of the paper and thus relegate my post to the dustbin.

  4. Clearly, this so-called prosecution team have lost the plot. In the absence of any real evidence against Dr Blyden, they are now desperately trying everything. It is abundantly clear this was not part of the script. To conjure a lie of that magnitude, you have to be pretty sure your attention to details never fail you. Unless of course you are suffering from collective amnesia which is very much in evidence in this case. As it stands, and given the length of time this trial has being going on, any fair minded individual would conclude this case is full of HORSE SxxxT. JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED. They are clutching at straws to see if the libel case against Dr. Blyden will stick. Now to muddy the prosecution waters, they want to drag the name of the American ambassador to this political witch hunt.

    Politics is blood sport. And Bio and his men are good at it. Now you really have to ask yourself is this the country that is in the grip of a pandemic, the effects of which have already caused massive economic shock to an already failing economy? The government needs to figure out how to put in place shock absorbers to our anaemic economy. Already our economy is on life support, and covid19 is threatening to pull the plug. So the trial of Dr Blyden is a complete distraction from the real issues affecting our country. Businesses are going under at an alarming rate. And struggling families not knowing where their next meal is coming from. Why should president Bio allow this charade to continue in his name.

    The president needs to bring this circus to an end. Our country’s reputation lay in tatters. The rule of law has been turned on its head. There is no Free press, because there has never been one. Why should Sierra Leoneans continue to sing songs of praise for Bio while millions of their fellow country men are stuck in abject poverty?

  5. I think the court should continue to pursue the matter because the crime occurred BEFORE the law was repealed. Therefore, the offender is tried on that basis.

  6. Now we have entered the world of infantile behaviour by lawyers representing the Bio government. There no such a thing as vicarious liability here. Where did Yusuf I. Sesay get his law credentials from? From the ditch right next to where he lives? Going by his government’s obnoxious standards, every single person who shares a Facebook or WhatsApp story is a criminal. Well his most important task right now should be to build enough prisons to accommodate the whole world, not just Sylvia Blyden. Oh by the way he should get his Commander-in-Chief Bio, to send security forces to the American Embassy to arrest the American ambassador as a material witness and source of the Facebook message. “Da tem dae we go no waitin do bossin man nor dae put fehdar nar fire”.

    It is now clear to everybody, except the Bio government, that Dr Blyden has no case to answer. The judge sitting on the case should also be examined for any trace of mental incapacity which makes it difficult for the case to be thrown out. We don’t want a politicised Judiciary. It is very scary.

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