For Immediate Release July 5 2022
The C4C political party calls for an end to all forms of police brutality and human rights violation on Sierra Leonean citizens. We condemn the extra-judicial killings, frequent victimization and harassment of hard-working Sierra Leoneans, as well as unlawful policing by some members of the Sierra Leone Police Force.
With the following incidents involving the police force:
Depriving suspects of legal representation;
Detaining citizens with no charge;
Police brutality at IPAM campus;
Allegedly cutting off an uncharged suspect’s dreadlocks;
The arrest and detention of political opponents;
Killing of multiple citizens at Pademba Road prisons;
Killing of protestors in Makeni, Tombo, Tonko, Lunsar, Lungi, Mile 91, etc.;
The death of a 17-month-old baby, Hannah Kanu, who was placed in police custody with her mother in a police cell in Makeni;
along with numerous isolated incidents of egregious brutality on citizens, demonstrates the systemic brutalism that has plagued the Sierra Leone police over the past 4+ years.
The high-handedness of the police force and the callously silent response from the government violates our constitution and several international conventions and treaties, including Article 1 of the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (1979) and Principle 8 of the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (1990).
No single piece of legislation can bring back the countless lives lost or violated, but we must enact policies to prevent future police brutality, hold police officers accountable, and restore confidence in our criminal justice system. We must also end the militarization of law enforcement, which has been on full display throughout the nation.
Police officers carrying military-grade assault weapons are deployed all over the country to disrupt and at times provoke lawful, peaceful protests and to intimidate political opponents of the government. Sierra Leonean communities are already being ravaged by an unprecedented economic crisis and to compound that, they are being terrorized by militarized police. It is the responsibility of the police force to protect all communities, not intimidate, assault, or kill them.
The C4C political party stands against any police brutality and calls for greater accountability and guidelines to address police brutality on our citizens. We insist that a lot needs to be done to end the scourge of police brutality and human rights violation in our country once and for all.
We therefore call on the president and his government, the Parliament of Sierra Leone, the Judiciary, as well as all relevant stakeholders to urgently take the following actions:
Immediate and unconditional release of all political opponents and protesters detained by the police nationwide
Policemen involved in the extortion and human rights violations of Sierra Leoneans should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
There is a need for the total overhaul of the Police Force with adequate investment in professional police training and adequate funding for the force.
Protection of protestors and political opponents from arbitrary arrests and intimidation.
Sierra Leoneans of all social and economic backgrounds have suffered at the hands of a law enforcement system that fails to recognize the basic dignity of its citizens. We need real accountability and a system that values the humanity of all Sierra Leoneans. As a nation, we cannot be free until we are all free.
Every Sierra Leonean deserves the right to life, fair hearing, and protection from violence, particularly from that of the police.
Alieu Iscandari Esg.
C4C Interim Leader