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Citizens Views on the Arrest and Detention of Dr. David Tam-Baryor

NOVEMBER 14, 2014 With Patrick J. Kamara & Victoria Saffa

Dr. David Tam-Baryoh
Dr. David Tam-Baryoh

Popular ‘Monologue’ presenter, Dr. David Tam-Baryor was arrested on Monday, 3 November 2014 and whisked to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) before he was later transferred to the Male Correctional Center on Pademba Road without charges.

His arrest was ordered by an “Executive warrant” signed by President Ernest Bai Koroma following a ‘Monologue broadcast he presented on Saturday, 1 November which government says was replete with ‘incitement’ and ‘hatred’.

Several organisations, including the Bar Association, Sierra Leone Association of Journalist (SLAJ) and a coalition of civil society groups have issued press statements questioning the reason for his arrest and detention, and calling for his release, not least on health grounds.

More than 10 days after the incarceration of the controversial journalist, Concord Times Patrick J. Kamara and Victoria Saffa took to the street of Freetown to gauge the views of citizens on his arrest and detention.

Charles Mambu: Chairman, Coalition for Civil Society Organisations and Chief Executive Officer, Health for All Coalition.

I am calling on CSOs and journalists to obey the laws especially when the country is in a State of Public Emergency. For the past years, Dr. David Tam- Baryor has been doing a very good job in the media. I am therefore pleading with the president to release him. As a colleague in the media, if you did wrong accept that you are wrong. His friend Philip Neville has stated that Tam-Baryor is wrong. Constitutionally it is not wrong to beg the president especially when somebody has violated the laws. I am therefore calling on other citizens to join me beg the president to release Dr. Baryor

Emmanuel Reffell: Caretaker at Robert Street.

Remember we are under Public Health Emergency and some of our rights are restricted. According to the press release from the Attorney-General’s office, Franklyn Bai Kargbo stated that the messages of Dr. Baryor are incitement and have the tendency to breach the peace of the nation. I am pleading with the government to release him without going through the due process of the law. Myself, I agree with the Attorney-General that his messages were inciting and you people know that the media is very powerful. Remember what happened in Rwanda in 1994 where hundreds of people were killed. That standoff was caused by the media. But in all that we are still plead with the government for his immediate release as many people are expressing concern of his health.

Francis Haffner: Cole Street, Freetown

I am pleading with the government to release him on at least bail. I am greatly missing his programme and I fell frustrated over his arrest. Dr. Baryor’s programme was very educative and I did not see any reasonable grounds for his arrest and detention at the maximum prison. The little we know is from the media as they play a great role in the development of this nation. To me, it is wrong for their freedom to be violated. What they alleged for his arrest and detention is not correct and this government should know that what goes round comes round. Dr. Baryor is one journalist that knows how to investigate issues and bring out the truth.

Roland Simeon Dowu Roberts – Unemployed, John Street.

In any organised state, after God it is the President and all of us should respect him and whatever proclamation he makes. Dr. Baryor is a well-educated man and knows exactly what the issues are. Those words that he used on the programme were not good and may have the tendency to breach the peace of this nation. But he has already learnt a bitter lesson form his action. We are calling on the government to release him on bail. The media is playing a great role in informing us on the day-to-day issues.

Bamie Tarawallie: Beads seller, Siaka Stevens Street.

His arrest doesn’t make any sense to me because he used to do good things for us and talk about positive things. Besides, this was the man that campaigned immensely for President Koroma in the 2012 multi-tier elections. Arresting and detaining him in prison without charges reminds me of modern day slavery.

I can recall when the president says his record was clean for the fact that he had not imprisoned any journalist, but he has done so now. In fact, I may say his reaction is worst irrespective of being in a State of Public Health Emergency.

One thing I don’t like about we the citizens is that we are always afraid to say the fact even when they are clearly seen. We should forget about always begging the president even when it does not call for. This is not the first time government authorities are arresting journalists and in each occasion, people will mobilize themselves to beg the president. But it is not the fact of the matter, the truth is, let us learn to respect the right of others, let’s forget about this notion that the president is always right.

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