By Amin Kef (Ranger)
One of the young people who were arrested while trying to visit LAJ, while he was detained at a detention centre known as Benghazi, Ibrahim Koroma, popularly known as Prezo Koroma who is the Secretary General of the DJs Union, intimated this medium in an exclusive interview that they were finally freed from Pademba Road Prison, thanking God Almighty for keeping him alive and healthy for the past eight months and 9 days behind bars.
According to Prezo Koroma, the rationale behind his imprisonment is yet to be figured but it doesn’t come as a surprise to him maintaining that the reason put forward by the authorities for his incarceration does not make sense to anyone.
“How would unarmed civilians converge at the Headquarters of the paramilitary wing of the police and pelted them with rubber bottles?” “How would a responsible individual like me cause mayhem to armed personnel?” he again asked maintaining that if they did such a thing then their names should be in the Guinness Book of World Records.
He stated that the only crime they committed was visiting a friend and a brother who was held at Benghazi with information that was going around that his dreadlocks had been cut off and he had been injected with a substance.
Prezo Koroma narrated that, however, as an Entertainment Journalist, he went there to have first-hand information about the news that was making the rounds on social media.
“I have always been a credible source of information for the past decade when it comes to Entertainment related activities,” he revealed adding that going to Benghazi to seek information about the detention of King Boss La should not be an exception.
He explained that they got apprehended during the process of asking to see LAJ pointing out how they were beaten up like thieves, stripped off naked, hair shaven, and slept on an empty floor in a tiny smell cell that has more than 12 suspects adding that the two days spent in Benghazi were the worst days of his entire life.
According to him, the barbaric treatment at Benghazi was not enough as they were charged to court for Disorderly Behavior and Riotous Conduct on the 17th of June 2022. The said day, he stated, was his first day at the Pademba road prison disclosing that after ten days of trial, they were found guilty of the offence for which they were charged and given the second maximum sentence of 36 months for the two counts of the charge and it should run concurrently.
He expressed the view that Sierra Leoneans both at home and abroad were vexed about what happened to them. He said the inmates at the prison expressed a similar sentiment. Prezo Koroma revealed how they received them as Kings and Queens and ever since they lived as one family for the past eight months.
Moreover, he said, within the 21 days of their sentence, their Lawyers filed an appeal because of the unfair judgment they had at the Magistrate Court. He said the appeal case came up at the High Court in late August 2022 and they were again denied bail just like in the Magistrate Court and the Judge ordered a speedy trial.
The proposed speedy trial, he informed, ran from August to December 19th when their appeal judgment was delivered saying the oral argument between the Defense Counsel and the Prosecutor clearly showed that they won the appeal but said asked can they win over the power above.
Prezo Koroma stated that gratefully the US Embassy in Freetown was following up with the case maintaining that they know the gospel truth revealing how the learned Judge dismissed all the grounds of appeal put forward by their lawyers and ended up reducing their sentences.
He said life at the Pademba Road Prison was not easy at all but he was fortunate to have everything he needed to keep him going while in prison and it was enough so he was sharing with the less privileged.
The entertainment journalist revealed that hundreds of their compatriots are suffering for no good reason. He said just like them there are a lot of people being locked up for crimes they did not commit maintaining that injustice is real in the country and Sierra Leoneans should stand firm to stop it.
He said as he has seen it all in prison, he is calling on all and sundry to come together with resources to support their brothers and sisters in prison as they are faced with a lot of difficulties. “We can make a great change if we come together as united citizens,” he affirmed.
Prezo Koroma said to those who jailed him unjustly, he leaves everything to God, He will surely pay them all if they did the right thing or not.
He extended thanks and appreciation to his family, friends, and comrades for standing up for him throughout the journey adding that their financial, moral, and physical support made it easier for him. He also thanked the Prison officers for their professionalism saying even though some of them were sometimes annoying but overall 70% of them are good officers.
“I will still standing with LAJ and the Bah Family,” he concluded.