Treason Trial: Accused aggrieved about denial of family visitation 

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By Yusufu S. Bangura

In the ongoing treason trial involving Amadu Koita Makalo and 11 others linked to a failed coup on November 26th, 2023, one of the accused, Abdul Sorie Hassan Kamara, raised concerns in an open court about the denial of family visitation for the past three weeks.

Kamara, whose defense counsel was absent during the hearing, informed the court that prison officers had refused his relatives access, insisting that family visitations would only be permitted upon a court order.  

In his plea, Kamara expressed his predicament, stating, “My Lord, I have people that should visit me, but they do not have access according to the prison officers. They would not allow visitations without the court’s order. Therefore, I am pleading with the Bench to allow us visitations”.

Presiding Judge, Komba Kamanda, recalling previous orders, mentioned that he had initially directed lawyers to have unrestricted access to their clients. However, for family members, the correctional service was instructed to follow standard procedures.

He urged the defense to submit an application with an affidavit outlining their grievances. The judge emphasised the seriousness of the allegations against the correctional service and stressed the need to afford them an opportunity to respond.

Justice Kamanda instructed the defense team to file an affidavit concerning the correctional center’s procedures for family visitation.

This would allow the correctional service to present its perspective, following which the judge would rule on the matter.

Responding to the established procedures, Lawyer Ady Macaluley, representing the 3rd accused, criticised the correctional center’s policy as discriminatory. He argued that while other prisoners were permitted access to visitors, the treason accused were consistently denied that opportunity, which he deemed universally unacceptable.

In response to the defense counsel’s concerns, the lead state prosecutor, A.J.M Bockarie, echoed the judge’s call for the defense to submit an application with an affidavit outlining any grievances.

The matter was subsequently adjourned to Wednesday, February 28th, 2024, for further proceedings.

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