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”.