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Further information on UA 205/93 (AFR 51/05/93, 22 June) - Sierra Leone: legal concern / health concern: 264 political detainees at the Central Prison, Pademba Road, Freetown, including: Bockarie Babay, Alhaji Kallon, Finda Mbriwa, Sahid Mohamed Sesay

, Index number: AFR 51/007/1993

Eighty-six political detainees held without charge or trial were released from the Pademba Road Prison on 9 July 1993 after a review of their cases by both police and military authorities. They included Ernest Allen, Adeline Koroma, Roy Stevens and Harry T T Williams . The identities of the other released detainees is not yet known. In a statement issued on 10 July Lieutenant Karefa Kargbo, Acting Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs stated that the remaining 156 detainees are alleged to have been involved with rebel forces, although none of those held appeared to have been captured during fighting, He also claimed that only 1 detainee had died in Pademba Road Prison since 1992. Although the numbers have decreased, poor conditions there are still believed to have led to deaths.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 51/07/93
Distr: UA/SC
2 August 1993
Further information on 205/93 (AFR 51/05/93, 22 June 1993) - Legal
Concern/Health concern
SIERRA LEONE:264 political detainees at the Central Prison, Pademba Road,
Freetown, including:
Bockarie Babay, farmer
Alhaji Kallon, school student, aged 14
Finda Mbriwa, housewife
Sahid Mohamed Sesay, student
Eighty-six political detainees held without charge or trial were released from
the Central Prison, Pademba Road, in the capital Freetown (commonly known as
Pademba Road Prison) on 9 July 1993 after a review of their cases by both police
and military authorities. Among those released were Ernest Allen, former
Acting Permanent Secretary at the Department of Defence who was arrested on
8 March 1993, Adeline Koroma, a former government information officer, and
Roy Stevens, a journalist, who had both been held since May 1992, and Harry
T.T. Williams, a former government minister who was arrested in October 1992.
Amnesty International does not yet know the identities of the other released
detainees.
Amnesty International representatives visiting Pademba Road Prison in May 1993
met 264 political detainees. In a statement on 10 July 1993 Lieutenant Karefa
Kargbo, Acting Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, stated that 242 political
detainees had been held in Pademba Road Prison. The remaining 156 detainees
are alleged to have been involved with rebel forces who have been fighting
government troops in the south and east of the country since 1991 when they
invaded Sierra Leone from Liberia. The conflict has continued since the
National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC), headed by Captain Valentine
Strasser, came to power following a coup in April 1992. According to the
government, these detainees are to remain in custody indefinitely while the
conflict continues. It was implied that those held at Pademba Road Prison
who had been arrested since 1992 in the context of the conflict were prisoners
of war. However, none of those held in Pademba Road Prison since 1992 appeared
to have been captured during fighting. Large groups of civilians have been
detained, apparently indiscriminately, by soldiers as they have retaken areas
previously held by rebels. No proper investigation into whether they had been
involved in rebel activities appeared to have taken place and the only grounds
for detention seemed to be a general suspicion that they might have supported
or collaborated with rebel forces.
Amnesty International is concerned that some of the remaining detainees held
without charge or trial at Pademba Road Prison may be arbitrarily detained
in the absence of any substantial evidence that they were involved in rebel
activities, and is therefore continuing to urge that their cases be reviewed
in order to establish whether there are legitimate grounds for their detention.
Lieutenant Karefa Kargbo also stated on 10 July 1993 that only one detainee
had died in Pademba Road Prison since 1992. There is serious overcrowding,
insufficient food and inadequate medical care at Pademba Road Prison and,
according to Amnesty International's information, deaths from malnutrition
and disease still frequently occur. However, the number of deaths in the prison
has decreased significantly since the NPRC came to power in April 1992.
Page 2 of FU 205/93
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/express and airmail
letters either in English or your own language:
- welcoming the government's recent review of the cases of political detainees
at Pademba Road Prison and the subsequent release of 86 detainees on 9 July
1993;
- expressing concern, however, that some of those remaining in detention may
be detained arbitrarily by the military, in the absence of any substantial
evidence of involvement in rebel activities;
- urging that noone should be detained indefinitely without having an
opportunity to challenge the reasons for their detention and evidence against
them before an independent and impartial tribunal;
- requesting assurances that there will be a thorough review of remaining cases
in order to establish whether there are grounds for continued detention; any
against whom there is no evidence should be released;
- continuing to call for improvements to conditions at Pademba Road Prison.
APPEALS TO:
1) Captain Valentine E.M. Strasser Salutation: Dear Captain Strasser
Chairman, Supreme Council of State
National Provisional Ruling Council
State House
Independence Avenue
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Telexes: 3230
Telegrams: Captain Strasser, NPRC, Freetown, Sierra Leone
2) Captain Julius Maada Bio Salutation: Dear Captain Maada Bio
Deputy Chairman, Supreme Council of State
and Chief Secretary of State
National Provisional Ruling Council
State House
Independence Avenue
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Telexes: 3230
Telegrams: Captain Maada Bio, NPRC, Freetown, Sierra Leone
3) Lieutenant Karefa Kargbo Salutation: Dear Lieutenant Kargbo
Acting Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Department of Foreign Affairs
14 Gloucester Street
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Telexes: 3230
Telegrams: Lieutenant Karefa Kargbo, Foreign Affairs Department, Freetown,
Sierra Leone
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Human rights organization:
Society for the Preservation
of Human Rights in Sierra Leone
PMB 915
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Newspapers:
New Citizen, 5 Hannah Benka-Coker Street, Brookfields, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Daily Mail, PO Box 53, Freetown, Sierra Leone
The Vision, 60 Old Railway Line, Brookfields, Freetown, Sierra Leone
and to diplomatic representatives of Sierra Leone accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 13 September 1993.

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