In the early hours of this morning, the Sierra Police raided the Lumley Roundabout where Lumley Beach Dot Com is situated and in an attempt to arrest alleged loiterers and diamba smokers, they carted away one of Sierra Leone’s foremost international human rights activists named Allan Quee. But not before giving him a solid beating, tearing his clothes up, kicking him in his private parts and causing him to bleed. His crime? He stepped out of my Internet centre where he was browsing to question the police as to why they were cruelly dragging a lady on the streets into their landrover.
The police said that the lady was a prostitute and Allan Quee should not question them. Poor Mr. Quee proceeded to try to tell them about the training he has been involved in with the British and with UNAMSIL trying to educate the new Police Force about human rights and citizens rights especially during arrests. Mr. Quee condemned the act of dragging a lady on the streets of Freetown with her skirts all up and exposed. This is what caused his beating up and his handcuffing and arrest. Additionally, in their efforts to “cleanse” the area of “loitering vermin”, the police arrested four chinese citizens who were out looking for food to eat. They said the Chinese should not be on the streets. The chinese guys unfortunately retorted that they had all right to be out in the morning hours. They were also manhandled, handcuffed and bundled into a waiting landrover. The Chinese whilst being carted off, exclaimed “Sierra Leone, big problem still in here. big problem. big. very big problem.” Did I hear you say, “There goes the Chinese tourism package”?
It must be noted that one of the leading police involved in all this was stark raving drunk and was even holding a can of extra large Heineken beer in his hands. When I went to the station at 3am this morning, he still was in full police uniform holding the beer (some say it was his third or fourth that night). His name is Inspector Bombas Palmer or so he identifies himself. Several of the other police officers we met at the station tried to threaten and intimidate us. I took out my mobile telephone which records video clips and I made some sensational video recordings of the intimidation efforts. I also took a video recording of the drunk Inspector Bombas Palmer who says he has over 30 years experience in the police force. they had no idea that my telephone also records videos.
Quee’s younger brother was also bundled into the landrover right in front of my Internet Centre and Quee’s jeep was also given a “beating” with a gun-butt denting the jeep in the process. Quee and his brother managed to get someone to call up their uncle Colonel Benjamin but all efforts to get the senior police officers tonight almost proved fruitless as all their phones were turned off until we were fortunate to get Superintendent of Police Patrick Johnson (former ADC to VP Berewa) who rushed to the Congo Cross Police Station to meet the situation. It is now 6am here and more updates of this unfolding drama will be revealed later. But one thing is sure about all of this. A precedence has been set and a legal precedence has to also be set. The Police are not here to brutalise citizens and foreigners. They are being paid with our tax payers money and they cannot use our own money to brutalise us and to ruin the potential of turning Sierra Leone into a tourist haven with arbitrary arrests and beatings of innocent people. The Inspector General of Police and AlShek Kamara of the Police Disciplinary Committe recently set a very commendable example by disciplining police officers who brutalised Awoko journalists. We hope that they will also discipline these errant drunk police officers but we also hope that a criminal case can be brought up against the Sierra Leone Police by those innocent citizens giving that beating and bleeding this early morning.
Stay tuned for more updates…
SYLVIA BLYDEN REPORTED AT THE SIERRA LEONE FORUM