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Over mode of arrest of bike riders

…Human Right report slams police

September 28, 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

The 2014 Human Rights Report has slammed the Sierra Leone Police over the mode of arrest of motorbike riders. Traffic police officers are in the habit of using chains and sticks with nails to effect arrests, sometimes leading to confrontations, serious injury and death to riders, notes the report.

Speaking at the launch of the report at their Tower Hill headquarters, chairperson of the Sierra Leone Human Rights Commission,Brima Abdulai Sheriff said in compliance with section 24(1) of the Human Rights Commission Act, No. 9 of 2004, they were launching the 8th annual human rights report which catalogues their activities the violation of rights during the year under review.

“The Human Rights Commission condemns the mode of arrest of motorbike riders in motion by the Sierra Leone Police using chains and sticks with nails on them to effect arrests sometimes leading to confrontations, serious injury and death,” said Chairman Sheriff.

Inspector General of Police Francis Munu has doggedly backed the rather crude policing method in the past, despite public condemnation of it as antiquated and inhumane, as it fails to take cognizance of the safety and security of pillions.

However, the practice seems to have been abandoned in recent times, apparently due to public pressure.

Commissioner Sheriff also said the Ebola virus posed a serious threat to the enjoyment of the rights to life, liberty, security of the person and health, adding that the scale and scope of the outbreak was compounded by unpreparedness and the ill-equipped nature of our healthcare system, thus leading to the rapid spread of the disease to all districts in the country and death of more than 3000, including medical doctors and nurses.

He said the outbreak disturbed the full enjoyment of the right to education in the second half of the 2014 as it interrupted the reopening of schools and tertiary institutions.

He urged the government and parliament to ensure that the current constitutional review process factor the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health as fundamental human rights in the revised constitution.

He said the commission notes with satisfaction the appointment of one High Court Judge for Kenema and six Magistrates, adding that in the administration of justice delays in processing indictment, shortage of judges and magistrates and frequent adjournments of cases account for prolonged detention and overcrowding in correctional centers nationwide. He said the report also urged the judiciary to recruit additional judges and magistrates to serve in the provinces and find alternative ways to expedite cases in courts.

He noted that shortage of clean and safe drinking water across the country also affects the enjoyment of other rights, especially women and children, and that their recommendation to the Ministry of Water Resources was to continue prioritising the provision of clean and safe drinking water to all communities in their programmes development and budgetary allocation.

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