7 Days Ultimatum for Government

Over Assault of Civil Society Activist…

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President Julios Maada Bio
Rashid Dumbuya Esq., Executive Director of Christian Lawyers Centre (Legal Link)

A Non- Governmental Organization, Christian Lawyers Centre, also known as Legal Link on Monday 6th May 2019 released a Press Statement in reaction to an alleged assault of one of its Legal Volunteers, Morlai Kanu Conteh, by two military officers who were manning the main entrance to the Parliament building during the State Opening of the House on Thursday 2nd May 2019.
In an exclusive interview, Morlai Kanu Conteh disclosed that on that fateful day he was officially invited to the State Opening of Parliament in his capacity as President of the National Youth Coalition and at the time when the APC Parliamentarians were walking out, he came outside to have a clearer picture of what was happening for proper and accurate reporting.
He further narrated how he was attacked by two military officers dressed in military fatigues saying they were dark skinned in complexion.
“One of the officers even remarked that they beat me up because of my criticisms against the ruling SLPP Government on TV and Radio while the other OSD officer even threatened to shoot me,” he bemoaned.
He sustained a swollen rib, arm and face due to the severe blows and kicks he received from his alleged military attackers. Morlai Kanu Conteh is currently responding to medical treatment.
In the wake of the incident, Christian Lawyers Centre, an organization that defends the rights of human rights defenders in Sierra Leone, made recommendations that they stated should be looked into as soon as possible some of which are as follows:
1. That an independent investigation by the military be undertaken to weed out these few bad cops that are trying to dent the good image of the military in Sierra Leone.
2. That the Chief of Defence Staff must come out openly and denounce this unprofessional behavior of these two military officers against a civil society activist.
3. That an open apology be made by the administrative head of the military to the civil society activist and all medical expenses incurred by fully reimbursed.
4. That the Government of Sierra Leone and the Parliament endeavor to pass a law that will protect the rights of Human Rights Defenders in the country.
Rashid Dumbuya Esq., Executive Director of Christian Lawyers Centre (Legal Link) said the following recommendations should be adhered to within the next 7 days, if not they will be left with no option but to institute criminal actions against the administrative heads of the military to be held liable for the acts of their subordinate officers.
Another Civil Society Organization, Campaign for Good Governance condemned the actions of the two military officers. Its Executive Director, Madam Marcella Samba-Sesay stated that: “We view such an attack as completely unwarranted and a veil threat to silencing critical civic voices on national issues, thereby reducing the scope for genuine political participation and advocacy in Sierra Leone. We therefore urge the Government to take immediate steps to ensure that the right to defend human rights and fundamental freedoms are respected, protected and fulfilled.”

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