By Ibrahim Kabba Turay
The Christian Lawyers Centre, referred to as LEGAL LINK, has written an open letter to Justice Adrian Fisher, appealing for the release of Edmond Abu Jnr, Executive Director of Native Consortium and Research Centre, who was detained for contempt.
According to Legal Link, they have had some conversations with the Master and Registrar’s Office on Friday regarding Edmond Abu’s detention in relation to his radio interviews, and that they have also gotten some explanations from some of the lawyers that were present during the saga in court.
The right group admitted in the letter that Abu was given an opportunity to purge his contempt behaviour,but refused to do so, adding that, “we are left with no option but to appeal to your lordship to temper justice with mercy.’
“We are of the firm belief that no Human Rights Advocate or Civil Society Activist should resort to the making of heinous attacks and castigation against a system, government, public officer or body without being able to produce pregnant evidence to substantiate same,” the letter reads.
“Permit us to also seize this opportunity to remind you that you were once a Human Rights Advocate like Abu is today and hence you should be in a better position to understand our excesses much more than any other Judge within our jurisdiction. As activists, sometimes our passion and quests for positive outcomes over our interventions do often overwhelm us to the extent that we act largely out of impulse rather than reasoning.”
The right group drew attention to the void in relation to law and policy within the jurisdiction for the full protection of the rights of Human Rights Defenders as they exhibit their trade.
In this regard, they say they shall be piloting through a private member bill a Human Rights Defenders law to provide as a first step for a complaint mechanism like that of the IMC to effectively deal with excesses of human rights advocates through civil means rather than criminal actions or detention.
“We pledged that upon his release, we shall hold constructive engagements with him and assure you that no further unhomely behaviours shall be exhibited by him against your person going forward. If there’s any reason to challenge your lordship’s judgment in the class action brought by him on behalf of others, we shall advise him to follow the judicial appellate processes provided within the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone without recourse to any verbal attacks or unhomely behaviours,” they concluded.