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In Kenema: Inmate in detention for 11yrs without trial

May 29, 2019

By Ibrahim Tarawallie

An inmate at the Correctional Centre Kenema, east of the country, has spent over 11years on remand on allegations of conspiracy, larceny and burglary without formal trial, according to Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL).

Dauda Kiwo recounted his lack of appearance and delay in trial to Commissioners of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL), when they recently visited the eastern region on outreach activities and monitoring of correctional centres.

The inmate claimed that he was arrested towards the end of 2007 and was charged before a Magistrate Court even though correctional document indicated that he was taken in on July 21, 2010.

According to him, he appeared four times before a magistrate before his matter was committed to the High Court and that since then, he has spent over 11years awaiting trial before a high court judge.

During monitoring activities at the Makeni, Kenema, Moyamba and Bo Correctional Centres, the commission observed appalling conditions in these places, including overcrowding, over detention and poor sanitary conditions.

At the Makeni Correctional Centre, which was built for 80 inmates but had over 230, inmates placed per cell ranges between 22 to 30 with tens of those inmates sentenced for petty offences and fines ranging from Le100,000 to Le150,000. Majority of the inmates were without indictments.

Bonthe was built for 65 inmates but at the time of monitoring by the country’s human right body, it had a capacity of 110 inmates with half of that number awaiting indictments.

Josiah Gberie, an inmate at the Moyamba Correctional Centre had spent 17months on remand, whilst Joseph Thomas spent 3years six months awaiting indictment.

The number of inmates awaiting indictments at the Bo Correctional Centre is 131 out of a t0otal of 265 inmates even though it was built to cater for 80 inmates. Kenema tops the regions with the highest number of inmates awaiting indictments. 152 are without out of a number of 296 inmates.

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