Culled from AWARENESS TIMES
By Sayoh Kamara
Jan 23, 2007, 11:32
The Special Court for Sierra Leone in the early hours of yesterday, 17th January 2007 flew out two of its detainees; Chief Sam Hinga Norman (CDF) and Issa Sesay (RUF) to Dakar, Senegal apparently for medical treatment but Chief Hingha Norman has now exclusively revealed last evening to Awareness Times that he is very bitter against the Special Court whom he emphatically states has not taken him into any hospital but have instead “dumped me into the worst jailyard in Senegal”.
However, the Special Court Spokesman, Peter Andersen denied the allegation when contacted last night.
“Chief Norman and Issa Sesay are in the VIP [Very Important Persons] wing of a military hospital in Dakar.” Andersen told Awareness Times. When pressed further to name the military hospital, Andersen refused to do so appealing for understanding from Awareness Times because of what he termed as “obvious security reasons.”
However, in an exasperated mood, Chief Norman stated unequivocally to Awareness Times during a facilitated telephone call between this newspaper and the Chief in Senegal that, the place himself and Issa Sesay had been taken to was, “very much unsatisfactory and not conducive for human living”.
Chief Norman said they had been taken not into hospital as expected but that they had been “dumped” into what he termed as, “the worst jailyard in Senegal” pointing out that if they are not taken from where they are at present to a conducive place, preferably a hospital of international standard for his surgical operation to be conducted, he would, “resist any attempt at performing the surgery until I am removed from where I am at present to a place that is environmentally conducive for a surgical operation.”
It now appears that the sudden transfer was done with the complete ignorance of the Norman family and his lawyer Bu-Buakei Jabbie who told Awareness Times yesterday that he (Jabbe) was surprised that Chief Norman was taken out of Sierra Leone without his knowledge. However, Special Court’s Peter Andersen posited that since it was a “medical issue” and not a “legal issue”, the court did not need to inform the lawyers for Norman or Issa Sesay before flying them out for medical treatment.
Chief Norman himself explained to this newspaper that he and Issa Sesay were suddenly whisked from their cells very early in the morning on Wednesday to the Lungi Airport and put on board a helicopter which shuttled them to Dakar in Senegal after they were assured that they were going to be admitted into hospital.
According to Chief Norman, they had agreed with the Special Court for Sierra Leone to be taken to “a reputable hospital that meets the international standards set in the statutes of the Special Court but not to a squalid environment like we are in now”, he angrily told Awareness Times, and therefore threatened, “If I am not removed from where I am now, I will embark on an indefinite hunger strike for the attention of the international community and the people of Sierra Leone as a way of highlighting my plight”, he noted.
He went on to express fear for his life and disclosed, “As I speak to you now, I have not seen any Doctor. Nobody has spoken to me and since I arrived early this morning I have not been given any food to eat”, adding, “We are being treated like virtual prisoners in a condition far worse than we were in at the Special Court in Sierra Leone.”
He therefore called, “Because of all these unprecedented happenings, I want to tell Sierra Leoneans and the world through you Awareness Times that I, Chief Sam Hinga Norman, am very much afraid for my life as it is put in the hands of people I do not trust to administer any form of medical treatment on me”, he stated.
|Juliet Norman speaks with Awareness Times Editor last night|
A daughter of Chief Norman, Juliet Norman who also spoke exclusively to Awareness Times pointed out that as a family, no one was informed or contacted about the transfer of her father. “I only came to know about it when I got an unexpected call from an unknown person in Senegal that my father wanted to talk to me”, she said.
She explained that the family had earlier requested from the Special Court that they be informed whenever they want to take him any where for what ever medical treatment, noting that they had suggested that at least a member of the family be allowed to accompany him.
“I was therefore shocked to hear from Papa that he was in Senegal and was in a place that is a jailyard and not a hospital”, Juliet told Awareness Times.
Juliet Norman drew a hypothesis emphasizing the concern of the Norman family, which suggests that her father may be about to be treated like the late Foday Sankoh.
“Perhaps because of fears that he might say things which some people never wanted to be known by the Sierra Leone people, he was first put in what they called “catatonic condition” only for him to die later. I am therefore very much concerned over my father’s welfare and life especially in the kind of conditions he now finds himself”, Juliet said.
According to Juliet Norman, she does not believe that her father was actually taken to Senegal for an operation.
“How could they have smuggled him out of the country like he was already a condemned prisoner that is being taken to the gallows?” she commented.
|The Family of Chief Sam Hingha Norman at the Awareness Times offices last night|
Miss Juliet Norman on behalf of the Norman Family (who all accompanied her to the Awareness Times offices last night) and on behalf of her father called on the international community especially Human Rights bodies to impress on the Special Court for Sierra Leone to bring back her father to Sierra Leone or to take him to international standard hospital and to also ensure the presence of at least a member of their family where ever he was to undergo his operation.
She said she was making this call because “I am not actually sure whether Papa would receive the kind of attention a surgical patient deserves if he is forced to be operated on. I truly do not have any confidence that he would be treated accordingly”, Miss Norman asserted.
|The daughter of Chief Sam Hingha Norman at the Awareness Times offices last night.|
Since agents of the Special Court arrested him on 10th March 2003, Chief Norman has been complaining of pains in his right thigh, which he attributed to a fall in the vehicle which was transporting him to the Special Court. He had complained that his hands were handcuffed behind his back and his right foot chained which made it impossible for him to gain his balance in the speeding vehicle when he had to fall heavily on his right side.
The operation that is to be performed upon him is expected to be a hip replacement operation.
In a passionate appeal last night to Awareness Times, Chief Norman pleaded for this newspaper to ensure that the world got to know of his plight.
“I hope that you will not allow yourselves to be intimidated into not letting the world know of what has happened to me in Senegal.” he pleaded.