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Don Bosco demands release of 79 inmates

July 31, 2015 By Victoria Saffa

The non-governmental charitable organisation, Don Bosco Fambul, has called for the release of some 79 inmates detained at the Pademba Road Correctional Center, who have been waiting for their indictment since 2012 and even before.

The organisation is asking the judiciary and other political authorities to ensure the release of the inmates who were incarcerated for committing minor crimes.

Briefing newsmen yesterday (Thursday 30th July), Project Coordinator of Don Bosco, Mohamed Kamara, said for one year now the central prison in Freetown has been in a process of change. He said the Pademba Road prisons has been transformed into a correctional centre, and that to achieve that, the Sierra Leone Prisons authorities received significant support from the Salesian non-government organization, Don Bosco Fambul.

“We are experts in trauma healing and rehabilitation and in this respect, we want to give everything we can for the benefit of the young and ill prisoners,” said Kamara, adding that for the past two years, their social workers have been supporting the effort of government to rehabilitate young and ill inmates at the central prison in Freetown.

“In doing so, we have been cooperating very closely and reliably with the responsible public authorities, and besides caring for more than 200 inmates every day by supplying food and medical drugs for malnourished and ill persons, we also provide the inmates with legal assistance and advice,” the project coordinator noted.

“For this purpose, a rehabilitation centre which includes a library was built in the prison three years ago. Ten tables and other accessories, as well as 50 board games were handed over to the prison authorities. Don Bosco social workers supervised the leisure time activities. Games and sport music and dancing are an important part not only in trauma healing, but also for the whole preventive system of Don Bosco. This is why we particularly invest in this area.”

Director of Don Bosco Fambul, Brother Lothar Wagner, called for the immediate release of the inmates, as well as for necessary reforms in the Sierra Leone legal system to be able “to fight injustice of this kind in the future”.

“Don Bosco has sent a list [containing] the names of 79 inmates without indictment since 2013, while also requesting their release as quickly as possible. This list has also been sent to the Sierra Leone police and to the Minister of Justice for action,” he said.

In his remarks, Wolfgang Kofler stated that since 2012 inmates continue to be detained without trial, noting that such development was not good for democracy.

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