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CHRDI slams political intimidation, violence

- urges police to investigate perpetrators of such ruthless deeds

April 10, 2018 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) has strongly slammed the rising spate of political violence and intimidation in the country before and after the just concluded general elections.
There were reports of political intimidation and violence just after the announcement of Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio as winner of the March 31 presidential run-off election against supporters of the opposition All People’s Congress (APC).

Several innocent people have been severely injured, buildings, including the office of the APC at Taiama Junction burnt down with a few losing their lives as a result of the waves of attacks.

According to the Chief Executive, Abdul M. Fatoma, such despicable behaviour was fast becoming a growing trend in the public space, with threats of violence or actual violence against party supporters, politicians and activists.

“We believe these acts of political ‘gangsterism’ are aimed at intimidating the democratic contestation of ideas and silencing dissenting opinions. The trend is worrying, particularly with the looming transition of power from one political party to another. Such unruly and criminal behaviour, if left unchecked will inevitably escalate to outbreaks of political violence across the country,” he said.
He stated that although the police have made some arrests, prosecutions are rare; most of the cases of political violence remain unresolved.
In order to show that there is no impunity for political violence, Fatoma strongly urged the Sierra Leone Police to immediately investigate and promptly apprehend the masterminds and perpetrators of these ruthless deeds, and swiftly prosecute and convict them.

While calling upon all Sierra Leoneans, irrespective of political views, to condemn and reject all forms of political violence as well as any individual and organization that may try to directly or indirectly justify violence or protect the assailants, the CHARDI boss urged political parties to strongly remind their supporters that violence will not be tolerated.
“Impunity is encouraging ruthless politicians to believe they can continue using violence to silence their opponents and a successful transfer of power means more than just keeping the country from falling apart. Many politicians have taken advantage of rampant poverty and unemployment to recruit young men, who intimidate and even kill their opponents or opponent’s supporters,” he noted.

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