Sierra Leone political prisoners who were arrested for celebrating West Africa’s oldest political party, The Sierra Leone peoples Party, SLPP’s 65th anniversary were temporarily released on at the total sum of Le 70 million for an unlawful procession, malicious damage and disorderly behaviour.
During their appearance, the Freetown Magistrate Court No 1 was jam-packed with party stalwarts, supporters and sympathizers who showing solidarity with the political prisoners.
Among those detained were SLPP Women’s leader, Madam Lulu Marian Sheriff, Peter Lumeh, Sheku Paul Fofana and Massa Banya. They were arrested on Wednesday 27th April 2016 during the party’s 65th year anniversary which coincide with the national independence day celebrations.
According to the Sierra Leone Police reports, on the said date at the partys headquaters on Wallace Johnson Street in Freetown, the accused were arrested and charged for unlawful procession in Freetown resulting into disorderly behaviour and malicious damage of properties worth millions of Leones that prompted police to ransack their office, arrest and detain them.
Similar arrests were being made last year in Kenema during the party’s 64th birthday anniversary in which party members were gassed up in their regional office and charged with celebrating and displayimg placards (in their office) against the Ebola law which at their prohibited meeting.
Although the ruling APC party members at the same date and time held their national party conference with more than thousands of participants, including President Ernest Bai Koroma, none of them was arrested or detained by the police.
On 29th April 2016, the accused were arraigned before Magistrate Abou-Bakarr Binneh Kamara who denied them bail after series of mitigation pleas by defense lawyers. They were prosecuted by Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Samuel Kamara and the proceeding was halted as prosecution failed to provide witnesses during the hearings; as a consequence.
Magistrate Binneh Kamara granted b a ail of Le 70million with two sureties at the same time asking each to provide valid Sierra Leonean passports including Freetown residency.
Among the defense attorneys were fifteen lawyers including A K Halloway, Dr. Bu-Buakai Jabbie, A Y Briwah, J K Lansana, E S Abdulai, and H M Ngevao, among others.
The case was adjourned to, May 12th, 2016.