Over Detention of Dr. Sylvia Blyden and Others… CSO Writes IGP

Thomas Moore Conteh Citizens' Advocacy Network (CAN)

By Foday Moriba Conteh

In a letter written by the Citizens Advocacy Network (CAN) dated 13th May, 2020 and addressed to the Inspector General of Police, Ambrose Sovula, the Civil Society Organization called on him to ensure that Dr. Sylvia Blyden and all other citizens who were arrested by the Sierra Leone Police and have extended the stipulated period of detention to be charged to court or granted bail pursuant to provisions of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.

According to the Executive Director of Citizens Advocacy Network, Thomas Moore Conteh, while they condemn violence and the disorderly conducts in the strongest terms, the flagrant abrogation of basic human rights of citizens and the slumber gear mode of processes and procedures of Law do not in any way present the State as one that abides by, or is guided by its law and order adding that Extant Provisions of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone safeguard the fundamental  human rights of citizens even when they are alleged to have committed a crime and that the Constitution grants the Police only three days (72 hours) to investigate allegations or offences of misdemeanors and charge to court; and ten (10) days in investigating capital offences, economic and environmental offences.

He said Section 17 Subsection 3 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone which is the supreme law of the land states that any person who is arrested or detained… and who is not released shall be brought before a court of law within ten days from the date of arrest in cases of capital offences carrying life imprisonment and economic and environmental offences and within 72 hours of his arrest in case of other offences.

“CAN urge you to adhere to the supreme laws of the land and charge or grant bail to the many citizens in your custody whose investigation and detention have tipped the required duration stipulated by law.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report seriously scolded such oversight actions of the Police as reasons for fomenting discontent and eroding confidence in such an important institution of State,” he highlighted.

He noted that the independence of State institutions helps the deepening of our democracy and boosts citizens trust and confidence in relying on them for dispensing justice, equity and the rule of law. In that regard, he urged that persons in custody undergoing investigation must be treated in a humane manner and that the Network has learnt that some detainees at the Criminal Investigation Department have been exposed to degrading human treatment and on some occasions even torture.

“This is contrary to Section 20 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone. We call for better actions,” he enjoined.

He ended by reminding the Inspector General of Police of his roles at such a time in the country’s history in bandaging the fragility of the country’s democracy by acting independently and respecting laid down constitutional provisions underscoring that this country needs his show of impartiality now more than ever.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here