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Sierra Leone: Anti-corruption activist’s detention an attempt to stifle freedom of expression

Following the detention, and subsequent release on bail, of Abdul Fatorma, a human rights defender and anti-corruption activist in Sierra Leone, Sabrina Mahtani, Amnesty International West Africa Researcher said:

“As someone who speaks out to keep Parliament accountable for its use of government funds, Abdul Fatorma should never have been detained. These attempts to intimidate are contrary to Sierra Leone’s regional and international human rights obligations.”

The bail conditions imposed upon him, including the confiscation of his passport, must be lifted immediately and the authorities must stop pursuing charges against him
Sabrina Mahtani, Amnesty International West Africa researcher

“Abdul Fatorma was detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression. The bail conditions imposed upon him, including the confiscation of his passport, must be lifted immediately and the authorities must stop pursuing charges against him.”

"The government must allow human rights defenders to do their work without intimidation. The arrest of Abdul Fatorma is an attempt to reduce civic space and stop him and others questioning government actions."

Background

Abdul Fatorma, a human rights activist of the UK-based Campaign for Human Rights Development International (CHRDI), was arrested in Freetown on 31 January following a radio discussion on Radio Democracy in which he challenged the government and Anti-Corruption Commission about their lack of accountability following the release of the Auditor General’s Report.

After the radio discussion, he was told to report to Parliament, and subsequently called to the Criminal Investigation Department of the Sierra Leone Police for questioning. Today he has been released on police bail. He has to surrender his passport and he will have to go to Parliament on Monday 6 February to be questioned again.

Abdul Fatorma is a human rights activist with a long history of questioning public spending. Last year he released a report concerning lack of government accountability regarding development funds which also drew criticism from the government.