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LAB secures bail for Human Rights Activist

LAB secures bail for Human Rights Activist

The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles assisted in securing bail for the Executive Director of the Center for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI), Abdul Fatoma (in photo) on Wednesday.

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles had a busy morning at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on Pademba Road on Wednesday, February 1 where she was joined by the Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, Mr. Brima Sheriff and the human rights lawyer Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai in response to the arrest and detention of Fatoma.

Fatoma had spent the night in the cell at the CID and this had put the human rights community on the edge.

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles had had a particularly difficult weekend following a matter between the country’s Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden and the Board’s Paralegal responsible for Juvenile matters, Ibrahim Kallon.

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles and team had a meeting with Fatoma in his cell. ‘We were pleasantly surprised that Fatoma is in very high spirit,’ she said. Fatoma was visibly furious with the way he was treated by the Parliamentarians. ‘I was invited to Parliament but ended up being escorted there by police officers after picking me up from Radio Democracy at New England where I was guest on the morning programme,’ he said.

The officers briefed the team on the status of the investigations. This was followed by series of meetings with officers of CID including its head Chief Superintendent Mohamed Kamara. Initially, there was confusion among officers regarding his next appearance in parliament. This was later clarified that he should appear on Monday, February 6 at 10 am.

The Executive Director had detailed a staff of the Board at the CID on Tuesday, January 31 following Fatoma’s arrest. The staff joined Lawyer Francis Ben Kaifala to monitor the matter. The staff spent over an hour observing investigators take statement from him.

The scenes at CID were eye-catching as leading civil society activists and journalists including Umaru Fofana and Ngolo Kata descended on the building  to follow-up on the matter.

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