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Independent Observer Editors Fulfill Bail Conditions

Independent Observer Editors Fulfill Bail Conditions

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 5, 2013 – The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) is pleased that our incarcerated colleagues – Mr. Jonathan Leigh, Managing Editor of the Independent Observer newspaper and Editor, Mr. Bai Bai Sesay – have today finally met the bail conditions set by High Court judge, Justice Abdulai Cham, and have been released from detention.

The two journalists were on Monday 4th November 2013 admitted to bail bonds valued at Le500 million each, with two sureties in like sum, one of whom must be a house owner in the Western Area, and whose title deed must be deposited with the Master and Registrar. They should also surrender their travelling documents.

Mr. Leigh and Mr. Sesay were arrested on Friday 18th October and charged to court with 26 counts of alleged seditious libel on Wednesday 23rd October. They were denied bail on their previous two appearances made at the Magistrate Court.

The two Editors were rearrested while in detention at the maximum prisons on Pademba Road and charged to the High Court under Section 136 of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1965. The High Court trial commences on November 18.

“I am relieved that my colleagues are now out of jail. I hope we can all now begin to work to put this sad chapter behind us, and continue the very important work of making this country better,” said SLAJ President Mr. Kelvin Lewis. “I call on President Ernest Bai Koroma to make true his promise to review the seditious and criminal libel laws and ensure that no journalist is jailed again under these laws.”

SLAJ wishes to thank members and all those who have stood in solidarity with the Executive to advocate for charges against the journalists to be dropped, or have them released on bail.

Long live SLAJ!  Long live Journalism!!  Long live Press Freedom!!!

SLAJ, Freetown

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