By Emmanuel Gborie
Lawyer Lansana Dumbuya has submitted a letter to the Inspector General of Police, requesting disclosure of place of detention and access to legal representation of suspects (his clients),who are currently in police custody since their arrests before and during the August 10th protests.
Med Kay, John Yapo Bangura, Kadie Conteh, Lucy Turay, Abubakarr Kamara and Sillah Kamara, supporters of the opposition politicians have been denied access to family members and lawyers since their arrest before and during August 10th protest.
According to Lawyer Dumbuya, he has been consulted and his service retained by relatives of the following suspects in custody of the police (hereinafter referred to as his clients) who have instructed him to write on their behalf.
“I am instructed that between 8 to 14th August 2022, my clients were arrested at their homes late in the evening hours by some of your police officers and remanded at the CID, Benghazi and other unknown locations. I am also instructed that when relatives received rumours that the suspects were detained at Benghazi, some of them attempted to visit the suspects in custody to enquire of the reason(s) of their arrest and detention, but they were prevented from doing so,” he said.
He argued that it is the position of the law as provided by section 17 (2) (a-b) of the 1991 Constitution that when persons are arrested, they have right to access legal representation without delay.
“Take notice that since the suspects were arrested and detained, they have neither had access to their lawyers, nor do the lawyers of their relatives know the current place of their detention,” he said.
He noted that such a stance by the police contravenes the 1991 Constitution and it also amounts to an ‘incommunicado detention’ and it’s against Criminal Justice system and it is also against the principle of natural justice.
“In view of the following, I request, in the interest of justice and preservation of the law, to show me their current place of detention and to also instruct your officers to allow me and other lawyers to access to the suspects so we can be well informed about the allegation(s) against them and to also have conference with them,” he submitted.
Earlier , former Attorney General and Minister of Justice of Sierra Leone (2016-2018) and Anti-Corruption Commissioner (2010-2016), Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, commonly known as JFK, also urged the Police to be mindful of the constitutional guarantees, stating that detainees arrested in the wake of the riots have been denied access to legal representation and others are kept at unknown locations.