• January 21, 2022

For Running Police Torture Camp… AMNESTY FROWNS AT BIO

For Running Police Torture Camp… AMNESTY FROWNS AT BIO
Share on

In line with global human rights call on political leaders across the world to demonstrate high level of respectability for human and people’s rights, Amnesty International has frowned at the Julius Maada Bio Sierra Leone People’s Party SLPP administration for series of state-sponsored human rights abuses including police brutality at Bengazi.

Bengazi, at the Sierra Leone Police Operational Support Division (OSD) headquarters in Freetown, under the current leadership of the Inspector General of Police, William Fayia Sellu and his predecessor, Ambrose Michael Sovula, continue to use as an official torture camp in Sierra Leone. A situation that has attracted the attentions of right groups including Amnesty International.

Amnesty International’s concerns however emerged few months after the 10th August 2022 killings allegedly by state security including personnel of the Sierra Leone Police’s OSDs and the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces on orders from above as the protesters against economic hardship were branded by government as terrorists and insurrectionists. Those mass killings were followed by arbitrary arrests and detentions of people who were highly considered as terrorists and organizers of the 10th August protest against economic hardship in Sierra Leone at Bengazi torture camp.

“We are seriously concerned about the increasing allegations of gross human rights violations including cruel and degrading treatments being meted on suspects and accused detained at Bengazi, a holding centre at the OSD headquarters in Freetown”, Amnesty International letter to the Government of Sierra Leone reads.

It is against these backdrop that Amnesty International has recently addressed a letter to the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and copied the Human Rights Commission Sierra Leone and the Office of the Vice President, seeking a meeting to discuss several allegations of gross abuses, rights violations and degrading treatments meted on suspects in police custody at Bengazi torture camp.

The Sierra Leone Police is on records for indiscriminate killing and brutally torturing of vulnerable civilians. The police is also on records for committing frequent violations and human rights abuses especially during their operations, as well as when place suspects and accused persons in their custody, during which they allegedly subject suspects and accused persons to forceful confessions, mostly under gun points. As for female suspects male police personnel always forcefully have sexual intercourses with them.

Also in the said letter addressed to the Government of Sierra Leone through the Internal Affairs Ministry, Amnesty International disclosed that the Human Rights Commission Sierra Leone was recently denied access to the infamous Bengazi torture and concentration camp, following series of allegations of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatments meted on suspects including Alhaji Amadu Bah alias LAJ and several others.

The Human Rights Commission Sierra Leone in a press release issued on 20th June 2022, condemned police denial of access to the commission and lawyers who were trying to gain access to the notorious Bengazi torture camp to know the detention conditions of suspects and their clients.

By way of seeking redress measures from authorities, one Joseph Conteh recently reported a matter of cruelty, inhumane and degrading treatments mated on him in while police custody at Bengazi torture camp to Amnesty International. Family members reported that the detainee was forced under gun point to walk on his knees and elbows while receiving lashes from the police personnel in charge.

Amnesty International Sierra Leone, Country Director, Solomon Sogbandi said in a recent media interview in Freetown that he is surprised to learn that the Sierra Leone Police is allegedly running a torture camp officially in the country. Sogbandi disclosed that Amnesty International has received countless complaints from victims and their relatives about being tortured at Bengazi, adding that as a rights-based organization, Amnesty International is also seriously concerned about the increasing allegations of gross human rights violations meted on suspects and accused persons detained at the Bengazi torture camp.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *