Sierra Leone News: Call for Justice for Slain journalist

Deceased journalist, Ibrahim Samura

Daughter of deceased journalist, Ibrahim Samura has condemned the failure of the Sierra Leone Police to bring his suspected murderers to justice. Ballamatu Samura is particularly concerned with the slow pace at which the investigation has been conducted by the police.

Last week marked the first anniversary of the death of the fearless human rights journalist. He reportedly died due to injuries he sustained from beating by political operatives.

To mark the anniversary, the daughter of the deceased journalist launched a Foundation in his honor. And Ballamatu Samura told audience at the launching ceremony in Freetown that the death of her father could not be commemorated without acknowledging the fact that his death is connected to ensuring that the right thing is done in society.

“He was a human rights activist who ensured that the rights of other people are not trampled upon,” she said.

The Ibrahim Samura Foundation for Democracy and Good Governance was formed to continue the work her father began in the defence of democracy and human rights.

Thomas Dixon, Editor of Salone Times Newspaper, described Ibrahim Samura as a “radical” journalist who helped shape the views of people to make radical decisions.

Dixon is also the Executive Editor of the New Age Newspaper, a publication he co-established with the late journalist, who he was very close to.

“It was unfortunate for him to meet his untimely death in the course of playing his own part in making society great,” he said. He also noted that while the family of the deceased was disinclined to pursue the matter as a case, the police insisted that a post-mortem examination be done on his remains and an autopsy report submitted to aid police investigation.

“Since the police commenced the investigation, nothing has been heard from them,” he lamented.

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has been leading calls for justice for late Journalist Samura. SLAJ’s National Secretary-General, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, repeated calls for the police to investigate the matter.

Mr. Nasralla also re-echoed SLAJ’s persistent call for Government to speed up the repeal of Part-Five of the Public Order Act of 1965. The SLAJ scribe said the Association has put forward strong arguments for consideration in respect of the repeal of the law.

“We are sure that progress is being made,” he said, stressing that there were other laws that could be used to checkmate media excesses by those who feel aggrieved.

Private legal practitioner, Martin Michael, who represented the Sierra Leone Bar Association, noted that democracy and good governance were “inseparable.” He said it is very difficult to pursue the two concepts independently.”

Mr. Michael said it was appropriate for a foundation of this nature to be formed for someone like Samura.

“It is appropriate for this time in our history a foundation for democracy and good governance is being set up in the name of somebody who died in the pursuant of democracy and good governance, someone who monitored election and was attacked as a consequences of which he lost his life,” he said, urging journalists to continue advocating for what is right and what is wrong.

‘’I have always said the best form of criticism is self-criticism. If you belong to any political party and they are not doing the best, the best thing to do is not to criticize the other party but criticize yourself because that is the best form of criticism and that is what democracy and good governance is all about” he added.



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