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Prison Watch calls on government to pardon children on June 16

By Ibrahim Tarawallie

Prison Watch Sierra Leone yesterday called on the government to pardon children on remand on 16 June 2014, which is the Day of the African Child.

The organisation’s Director, Mambu Carlton Feika, informed newsmen that out of 188 prisoners pardoned by President Ernest Bai Koroma on Independence Day (27 April), only four (4) are females, with no juvenile on the list.

He congratulated the government for granting prisoners clemency, a move he said was geared towards decongesting prisons, but noted with grave concern that children have not benefited from the presidential magnanimity.

“Children are humans and their rights are human rights. In view of this, we call on government to do same for children on June 16 – the Day of the African Child,” he urged.

Mr. Feika disclosed that as at the end March this year, a total of five hundred and forty-five (545) prisoners were on remand and that three hundred and thirty-six (336) inmates at the Freetown maximum prison are without indictment.

He revealed that some inmates have complained that they are often taken to court without their cases being heard, while others have bemoaned the fact that they are only ferried between the prison and court detention facilities, without making any appearance.

Meanwhile, Mambu disclosed that “A total of 731 prisoners are on trial of which 217 as at the end of March 2014 are yet to receive their indictments.”