Day 4 Update on the LAJ matter!
The retained Solicitor for Alhaji Amadu Bah aka LAJ writes a letter to Mr. Ambrose Sovula, the Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police force once dubbed “Force for Good”. He chronicled a number of human rights violations meted out against his Client including but not limited to shaving his head, torture, denied legal representation and access to his family. He stated that since he was arrested no charges have been pressed against his Client nor was he informed of his right to legal representation. He clearly stated this goes against the Constitutional provisions as well as all legal international human rights instruments assented to by Sierra Leone.
The Police in a Press Release dated the 18th day of June, 2022, admitted shaving the head of LAJ but it was done in accordance with a certain Standard Operating Procedure of the said detention facility.
Secondly, the Police have now finally informed the public through this release that LAJ is “under investigation by the Police for a felonious offence for which he could be kept in police custody while investigation is ongoing, for a period spanning up to ten (10) days.”
The release further reads that “The Sierra Leone Police is currently investigating a case of Robbery with Violence involving LAJ”.
The Police have however not told us whether it’s part of the SOP of that detention facility to deny suspects access to their Lawyers and family members while being investigated. They have also not told us if it’s part of the SOP to not have communicated to the suspect the offence for which he was arrested and being investigated.
They have also not told us the instrument used to shave their heads and whether one instrument was used to shave all of them in this world of HIV/AIDs and Hepatitis.
They have not told us if this SOP is in anyways supported by the Constitution or any other law. These are suspects held in your custody and I want to believe they are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Even men who are before the Court for the Misdemeanor offence of disorderly behavior were kept in that special facility with special operating procedures and were shaved. How can they be kept in a specialized facility with Standard Operating procedures and one of those dictates shaving the heads of all male detainees when they are just suspects and had no opportunity of meeting with their lawyers? The said shaving is done under very unhygienic conditions I want to strongly believe.
This is my first time of hearing of a facility in Sierra Leone where suspects are kept in a detention facility with a Standard Operating Procedure that dictates all male detainees in the said facility must have their heads shaved! This is scary and a huge insult to our collective intelligence. It is a shame I must admit! I knew we have moved pass this after we all agreed to move pass this and restructure our security sector to be people centered after the eleven years civil war.
The Police under Pa Kabbah was trained and empowered in many ways. We saw a force for good and we were confident we will never go back to the era of Sheki Police! I was wrong and we were wrong!
Mr. President, (“Father of Democracy”) that facility has no place in modern Sierra Leone democracy and therefore should be closed effective immediately.
We have still not met with LAJ!