23 December 2011

Sierra Leone: Police Torture Juvenile

Some police officers deployed at the Fourah Bay College Campus, University of Sierra Leone, yesterday arrested, handcuffed and abandoned a 13-year old boy who was

alleged to have stolen a gallon of fuel from one Steven Momoh, a taxi driver who plies the FBC route.

The boy, who screamed for help in the abandoned cell, had his two hands tied up and braced to the window.

According to the victim who said he resides with his parent at Leicester Village, he had been handed over to the police by Steven at about 7am and had been handcuffed and tied to the iron bar at the police post till noon.

One of the police constables who refused to disclose his name argued that the boy was a criminal and that he deserved more than such a treatment meted at him.

"He is a criminal and deserves such a treatment. He was supposed to have been in school if he is not a criminal," the police officer said. He also claimed that

the boy has been reported to the police on three occasions for alleged miscellaneous crimes.

However, one of the senior officers deployed at the post, Sergeant Bangura, expressed his disappointment at the action of his colleagues though he could not identify the police officer who did the act.

"This action is not right," said Bangura. "The boy is a juvenile; he still has some time to change and does not deserve such a treatment from a trained police officer."

He was untied with the intervention of this reporter who swiftly took action by engaging the police on the issue.

In another development, a section of the public has come down hard on the police for their alleged brutality since a police constable was reportedly killed in their area. One of the residents, Hassan Kamara of Fisher Street, claimed that some police have now made it a habit to breaking into premises, arrest occupants and demand money for their release.

"We are being terrorized on a daily basis by some police officers," he said. "They break into our houses and arrest some of our innocent relatives and demand we pay Le250, 000 for their release."

It could be recalled that the Inspector General of Police, Francis Munu had last week refuted claims that policemen were demanding money to release suspects saying only the court has the jurisdiction to grant bail to an accused individual.

The police boss also assured the general citizenry that the police will ensure a peaceful festive season.

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