Questions are being asked by legal minds and concerned citizens of Sierra Leone at home and abroad about why the Government of Sierra Leone apears not to be following the Criminal and Civil procedures in the recent alleged detention of the former Deputy Minister of Health , Madina Rahman and Mrs. Hassiatou Agbaje (nee Jalloh), the Director of the FIBANK .
According to reports received by COCORIOKO, both women were separately detained by the Sierra Leone Criminal Investigations Department ( CID ), three days ago, on Monday. .
So far, there has been no official Police statement about why the two women are being detained. This is abnormal because the Police do not have the authority to deprive any citizen of his/ her liberty without explanation.
It is also the unversally accepted legal procedure in both British and American Jurisprudence that somebody cannot be held for over 24 hours without a charge . The person must be allowed to speak to a lawyer and also granted bail, except in capital offences like murder or Treason where bail provides a serious risk of flight from justice, evidence-tampering. or public endangerment. Without bail and a charge, the person must be released immediately after 24 hours . According to reports, both women have been denied bail. So, without bail and no charges officially filed against them, why are these women being held captive ?
Under the Sierra Leone Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) of 1965 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right (ICCPR) in Sec. 79 and Article 9(3) respectively , accused persons are fully entitled to the right of bail in line with their constitutional and fundamental human rights.
Section 79 of the Sierra Leone Criminal Procedure stipulates :
(2) When a person is charged with any felony, other than murder or treason, the Court may, if it thinks fit, admit him
(3) When a person is charged with any offence other than those referred to in subsections (1) and (2), the Court shall
admit him to bail, unless it sees good reason to the contrary.
The failure of the CID or any competent court of jurisdiction to disclose whether these women have been charged or the reasons that they have not been granted bail is another violation of their constitutional rights.
Worried family members of Ms. Madina Rahman in New Jersey have been inundating the media and government officials about reasons for her detention at the CID. According to them, she was supposed to have traveled to the U.S. last Friday to attend a family Get-Together . When she did not turn up, concerns were being raised before it was disclosed by close associates of Ms. Rahman in Freetown on Monday that she had been invited to the CID where she was detained.
COCORIOKO Newspaper has sent written questions to the Director of CID and the Public Relations Officer of The office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Adrian Fisher and is awaiting their responses.
PHOTO : FORMER MINISTER MADINA RAHMAN