Alhaji M. B. Jalloh: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 04 May 2020:
Police Headquarters in Freetown has instructed the CID not to allow any member of the opposition APC party to visit the detained consultant editor of the Awareness Times Newspaper – Dr Sylvia Olayinka Blyden.
Dr. Sylvia Blyden was arrested and detained by the Police at the CID since last Friday without charge. (Photo: Head of Police – Sovula).
Credible police sources told me this evening that two senior members of the APC, Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo and Mr. Karamoh Kabba, the Deputy Organizing Secretary of the APC were denied access to see their comrade yesterday, who is reportedly detained under appalling condition, as her human rights are allegedly violated.
When contacted, the Inspector General of Police, Michael Ambrose Sovula (Photo) declined to comment.
Then came reports of 3 trucks of police escorting Dr. Sylvia Blyden to her residence to forcefully conduct a search of her property without obtaining keys to the property.
It is understood that the police wanted to break in to the house but her lawyer – Lansana Dumbuya implored the police not to do so, and Dr. Blyden was taken back to the CID.
A statement published yesterday by the National Publicity Secretariat of the opposition APC, titled -‘Arbitrary Arrest and Detention of Comrade Dr Sylvia Olayinka Blyden’, reads:
“The Attention of the All Peoples Congress (APC) has been drawn to the arbitrary arrest and detention of yet another senior member, Dr Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, of the All Peoples Congress (APC) by officers of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
“A cross section of the APC leadership and members visited the CID yesterday to see Dr Blyden and to ascertain reasons for her arrest. They were refused access to see her, and were also not told why she was arrested and detained at the CID.
“When the head of the investigation team, Mr MK Alieu was asked about what her charges were. He replied that they are still investigating the matter.
“Now, the police are searching everywhere for evidence while she is being held in custody: Yesterday, Mr MK Alieu told us that her telephone and laptop have been sent to the CID cyber unit in search of evidence. Today, according to one of her counsels, the police are returning to her house in further search of evidence.
“So, it is very crystal clear now that Dr Blyden has been held in custody without evidence of any sort, without charges and before investigations are conducted.
“While we call on all our members and supporters to remain calm, we are calling on the Government to ensure Dr Blyden’s basic fundamental human rights be respected.
“We are calling on the International Community and all Human Rights activists, institutions and organizations locally and internationally to prevail on the Government of Sierra Leone to halt the gross rights violation of Dr Blyden in particular and Sierra Leoneans in general.”
Yesterday, AYV TV journalist – Aruna Turay, told the Sierra Leone Telegraph: “This is police unprofessionalism at its peak. It is only in Sierra Leone that police who are being paid with citizens’ taxes, can do such and get away with it.
“Refusing to tell the public reasons why you arrested Dr. Blyden and still continue to detain her, will leave us sober journalists with the option of assuming that the country is being operated by an unprofessional remote controlled police force.
“And guess what Mr. IG and whosoever is behind or before you on this, no action of yours will keep us sober journalists silenced.. We owe it to Section 11 of our country’s constitution to hold our governments and their officials accountable.”
A State House source in Freetown told the Sierra Leone Telegraph last night that, Dr Blyden could be released on bail later today, Monday 4th May, three days after her arrest and detention without charge, as the nation goes into a three-day Coronavirus lockdown ordered by the president.