CSO urges release of opposition politicians, women protesters

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Femi Claudius Cole

By Ibrahim Kabba Turay

Citizen’s Forum for Democratic Accountability (C4D) has called on the authorities of the Sierra Leone Police to immediately release Dr. Denis Bright, Chairman of the National Grand Coalition (NGC), Femi Claudius Cole, Leader of the Unity Party and some women protesters, who came out on 4th July, 2022, expressing their dissatisfaction over the cost of living.

“Our attention has been drawn to the standoff between the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and Women Protesters, who stood out from the crowd and made the difference by expressing their dissatisfaction over the cost of living due to hike in prices of basic commodities and services through peaceful protest in Sierra Leone. C4D has thoughtfully followed the stalemate and came to the conclusion that the action of the police is preposterous, discourteous and outrageous and therefore, unreservedly condemns the arbitrary arrests and detention of Dr. Denis Bright, Femi Claudius-Cole and the other Sierra Leonean women,” the release states.

They observed that the protesters went out to protest against their suffering caused by the persistent increase in the prices of petroleum products which have left a ripple effect on the livelihoods of Sierra Leoneans.

C4D stated that the denial to give women the permission to protest by the police constitutes an infringement on their rights to freedom of assembly and association as provided for in Chapter 3 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.

“C4D is calling on the authorities of the Sierra Leone Police for the immediate release of Dr. Denis Bright, Femi Claudius Cole and the other women who have been arbitrarily arrested and detained for seeking clarification for the unprecedented escalation of the prices of basic social and economic services that has become a burdensome to ordinary Sierra Leoneans,” the release continues.

“C4D holds the view that Sierra Leone is a signatory to International, African, Regional human rights instruments and the government is not oblivious about Chapter 2&3 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone and the Human Rights Act of 2004, which all together guarantees the fundamental human rights of the individuals in the country.”