May 6, 2020
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
While he expresses serious concern over the attempted prison break, that occurred at the Central Maximum Security prison on 29th April, the UN Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, Sunil Saigal, has called on the Government of Sierra Leone to speedily launch a full investigations and bring perpetrators to book.
“The UN calls for prompt and full investigations into the incidents so that the perpetrators of the violence maybe brought to justice,’’ he said in a press statement.
In the morning hours of Wednesday April 29th, inmates at the Centre Maximum Prison on Pademba Road staged a riot in the prison cells, which led to the loss of lives of some inmates, a prison officer and the destruction of government property.
In his statement the UN diplomat said they regret the resultant loss of life, injury and damage to property, and further condemns all forms of violence.
He extends sincere condolences to the bereaved families and wishes the injured speedy recovery.
He recalls commitment made by the Government of Sierra Leone, under international conventions and treaties, including the Nelson Mandela Rules, to protect and respect the human rights of all persons deprived of their liberty.
He continues that more than ever, preventing the spread of CoVID-19 should be the overarching priority for institutions and individuals alike, which demands consensus and unity of purpose among all sections of Sierra Leonean society.
He called on all political parties in Sierra Leone, their followers, security agencies and the population at large to promote and respect human rights, while eschewing acts of incitement and other actions liable to lead to violence and distract from the all-important fight against COVID-19.
He said the UN in Sierra Leone would continue to urge political parties and other stakeholders to engage in meaningful dialogue and continue to stand ready to facilitate such dialogue.