CGHRD urges Judiciary to observe ‘presumption of innocence’
As stipulated by Section 23 (4) of the 1991 constitution
In a press conference held at the Campbell Street offices of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), the Consortium for Good Governance, Human Rights, and Democracy (hereinafter referred to as CGHRD), called on the Judiciary to look into the health condition of suspect Kamarainba Mansaray, who they said has been at the Pademba Road Correctional facility for over a year now and has not been granted bail, even though it is clear that his health is deteriorating and needs serious medical attention. They referred to the constitutional provisions that guarantees the freedom of individual from long incarceration, especially when the suspect has not been found guilty of an offence by a Court of legal jurisdiction.
According to their statement, Kamarainba has been in detention for over a year now, and all applications for bail by his legal team have not been granted. It was disclosed that last year October 2020,Kamarainba’s health status was disclosed to the Court by an independent medical professional, but that had not seen his release to have adequate medical attention. Whilst not delving into the facts of the case, the CGHRD explained that what is of grave concern to them is his fundamental right to life, which is being threatened by the continued denial of bail to him, so as to allow him to get medical attention and treatment, even when there are reliable sureties that are ready to serve as sureties for his bail. They maintained that the Law of the land stipulates that a man is presumed innocent until found guilty by a competent Court of Law of the land. Kamarainba, they explained, had been arrested for a more serious allegation than the current one by the then APC government, that which deals with illegal possession of arms, which, according to the law then and to date, if found guilty, fetches the death penalty (as the abolition of death penalty is not yet law because it is yet to receive the Presidential assent). On that occasion, Kamarainba was detained and later let out on bail. In their view, similar action should be taken by the judiciary, when consideration is given to the gravity of that offence and the current one.
CGHRD then appealed to the Presiding Judge to consider the health status of Kamarainba, which is supported by documentary evidence from qualified medical practitioners and signed by the country’s Chief Medical Officer. Please note that the CMO is constitutionally empowered to determine the medical status of any individual, including the health status of the President.
See Press Release below:
CONCERNS OVER THE PROLONGED DETENTION OF MR MOHAMED KAMARAINBA MANSARAY
The Consortium for Good Governance, Human Rights, and Democracy (hereinafter referred to as CGHRD), is a rights-based entity of likeminded organizations with key focus and commitment to promoting the culture of democratic accountability, good governance, human rights, rule of law and socio-economic justice to ensure a transparent and accountable society in Sierra Leone.
CGHRD has been closely following the trial of allegation of sexual penetration involving Mr. Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray, Leader and Chairman of the Alliance Democratic Party (ASDP).
While CGHRD acknowledges the fact that the matter is “sub judice” and its merits cannot be discussed out of court, we wish to unequivocally state the following:
1. That CGHRD fully appreciates the nature and sensitivity of the trial of alleged sexual penetration.
2. That the trial has spanned over a year and no verdict has been delivered.
3. That while Mr. Mansaray remains innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, he has already spent over one (1) year in detention at the Male Correctional Center without bail on account of the aforementioned allegation.
4. That CGHRD is in possession of an Independent Medical Report by competent Medical Practitioners, certified by the Chief Medical Officer suggesting that Mr. Mansaray’s health status is gravely degenerating as the days go by.
5. It is the considered opinion of CGHRD that the prolonged detention of Mr. Mansaray has the proclivity to endanger his right to life.
6. Given his precarious/deteriorating health status, CGHRD humbly appeals to the good conscience of the Honourable Judge presiding over the matter under trial to use his discretion judiciously and grant Mr Mansaray bail.
7. That granting Mr. Mansaray bail will not by any means suggest that the matter under trial has been closed. However, it will go a very long way to solidify public confidence, trust in the judicial independence and /or jurisdiction.
In respect of the foregoing, CGHRD wishes to seriously emphasize the pressing need for our judicial system to always uphold, maintain, defend and promote the ideals of free and fair trial; irrespective of the socio-economic or political status of all persons.
National Coordinator – CGHRD
Thomas Moore Conteh Spokesman – CGHRD