As I walked out of Pademba Road Prison today, I want to thank God Almighty for keeping me alive and healthy for the past eight months and 9 days behind bars. The rationale behind my imprisonment is yet to be figured but it doesn’t come as a surprise to me. The reason put forward by the authorities for my incarceration does not make sense to anyone. How would unarmed civilians converge at the Headquarters of the paramilitary wing of the police and petted them with rubber bottles? How would a responsible individual like me cause mayhem to armed personnel? If we did such a thing then our names should be in the Guinness World Records.
The only crime we committed was visiting a friend and a brother who was held in Benghazi with information that was going around that his dreadlocks had been cut off and he is injected with a substance.
However, as an Entertainment Journalist, I 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. Going to Benghazi to seek information about the detention of King Boss La should not be an exception.
We got apprehended during the process of asking to see LAJ, we 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. The two days spent in Benghazi are the worst days of my entire life.
The barbaric treatment in Benghazi was not enough as we were charged to court for Disorderly behavior and Riotous conduct on the 17th of June 2022. The said day was my first day at the Pademba road prison. After ten days of trial, we were found guilty of the offend charged and given the second maximum sentence of 36 months for the two counts of the charge and it should run concurrently.
Sierra Leoneans both at home and abroad were vexed about what happened to us. The inmates at the prison expressed a similar sentiment. They received us as Kings and Queens and ever since we have been living as one family for the past eight months.
Moreover, within 21 days of our sentence, our Lawyers filed an appeal because of the unfair judgment we had at the magistrate court. The appeal case came up at the High Court in late August 2022. We were again denied bail just like in the magistrate court and the judge ordered a speedy trial. The proposed speedy trial ran from August to December 19th when our appeal judgment was delivered. The oral argument between the Defense council and the prosecutor clearly shows that we won the appeal but how can we win over the power above? Gratefully the US Embassy in Freetown was following up with the case and they know the gospel truth. The learned Judge dismissed all the grounds of appeal put forward by our lawyers and he ended up reducing our sentences.
Life at the Pademba Road Prison is not easy at all, I was fortunate to have everything I needed to keep me going while in prison and It was enough so I was sharing with the less privileged. Hundreds of our compatriots are suffering for no good reason. Just like us, there are a lot of people being locked up for crimes they did not commit. Injustice is real in our country, Sierra Leoneans should stand firm to stop it.
As I have seen it all in prison, I am calling on all and sundry for us to come together with resources to support our 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.
To those who jailed me unjustly, I leave everything to God, he will surely pay you all if you did the right thing or not.
Thanks and appreciation to my family, friends, and comrades for standing up for me throughout the journey. Your financial, moral, and physical support made it easier for me. Thanks to the Prison officers for their professionalism even though some of them were sometimes annoying but overall 70% of them are good officers.
I am still standing with LAJ and the Bah Family.
©️ Prezo Koroma