This evening my clerk brought in a piece of paper and when I watched on same I saw “LAJ’s father is here to see you”. I asked him which LAJ and he told me the musician. Off course I know LAJ has a retained lawyer and it’s public knowledge it’s not me. That was my first time meeting the father.
I actually had a Client in but since I was curious to know why the old man was knocking at my door I asked him to come in while the Client agreed to wait outside until I’m done with him.
He looks very tired and anxious! He informed me someone directed him to me as he was looking for what he called ”Human Rights Lawyer”. According to him, his son has been arrested and since his arrest, they have denied him and other family members access. That he was here to see me so that I could help him meet with his son. He was worried and needed to be assured he is alive and doing fine.
I was not prepared to go out in the rain at all but the disposition of the old man gave me courage to move out in the rain to see how I can be of any help. He told me the son is held in a police cell at Benghazi! I don’t know whether Benghazi is the aka or OSD Headquarters is the aka! But in anycase there is an OSD Headquarters at Brookfields and I still want to know why it’s nicknamed Benghazi.
I drove my vehicle to the said Benghazi hoping my presence will create a difference in the life of the old man but unfortunately it created no difference save wasting my hard to get fuel.
While at the said OSD headquarters, I informed the Police officers on duty that I was there to see my Client. All we wanted is meet with him and know how he was doing! In normal societies where the force works for the good of all, this is as easy as drinking beer 🍺! But In Salone, it was as impossible as building the Lungi Bridge 🌉. I could still not believe they could not allow me not to talk of his father see LAJ! I was not even allowed inside the compound for reasons best known to them. It’s sad and very worrisome. I am still worried about how powerful we have made certain people in society and others powerless. I am still worried about the application of the tenets of the rule of law In our country. I am still worried about how you and I will be treated if we fall short of the law. I am still worried about my relevance in your life as a lawyer if you are in police net and I am called upon to help how would I help in anyways? In a country like this where you are not sure of seeing your son even with a lawyer around, my bother/sister I’m worried. We cannot continue in this state! It is appalling!!!
Maybe they need continuous human rights training! UNDP Sierra Leone should see how they can help
With more funds to train our Police Force on issues like this. They need to know the suspect has not lost his human rights when detained! He is entitled to sound legal representation. Nobody needs to tell the police that he is entitled to meeting with his legal reps while in their custody.
We did not even go seeking for bail! We went asking for the barest minimum: mek we see the man and know how e day do!
I hope I did not ask for too much: yes I only asked for my good self and his father to see my Client!!! Did I ask for too much? As I write I did not see him nor did his father. Maybe there is still hope..
Which message are you sending?
It’s a shame!!!
Day Two Update on the LAJ matter:
This morning I received a call from the Human Rights Commission office in respect of my post last evening and they needed to see how they can help in anyways possible. This shows we have institutions monitoring the media space and seeking modern ways to help resolve issues and ensure the rights of people are respected and protected.
I immediately called LAJ’s father (My Client) and another young man named Silvin Bah who says he is a family member and an advocate. They came to the office and we then went to the Human Rights Commission Sierra Leone 🇸🇱. The reception was top notch!!
We met with a young team of all men at the Complaint Department of the HRCSL. They attended to us very well and then obtained statements from the father of LAJ.
Thereafter they told us to join them head to the OSD Headquarters at Brookfields. They attempted entering with their vehicle but they were prevented from entering with the same. With their help we entered the facility and they informed the “Officers” our mission. It looks like a completely restricted facility so even movement is closely watched. Since we were not allowed to move away from the entrance of the building, the Human Rights Officer placed a call to the Head of the said facility who informed him to make enquiries at the Criminal Investigations Department and not there.
Hopeful as we were, we moved to the CID headquarters and we came out with nothing to show for our wasted day.
Luckily, I called the retained Solicitor for LAJ Madieu Sesay who was also busy at the Law Officers Department trying to see how we could get something positive.
With the help of these two men from the HRCSL, we went to the Communications Directors of the SLP who admonished the HRCSL to pen down their concerns in a correspondence addressed to the Director of Crime Services. They were as frustrated as LAJ’s father for not able to help a helpless man have access to his kids.
We left without seeing LAJ or his other brothers. The day is dead and gone and we have not seen him! Even with the full support of the Human Rights Commission Sierra Leone we were unable to meet with Alhaji Amadu Bah, his elder brother Ishmael Bah and two other brothers (all kids of the old man according to him).