Salone News

"Dont Mess With the Press"—SLAJ President Warns

28 August 2005 at 06:25 | 643 views

By Abu Whyte Sesay in Freetown

The President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ),Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo has observed in Freetown that the Sierra Leone press is now a force to reckon with and that the days of disrespect for journalists in the country are over.

"We have been conducting a series of meetings to see
that Harry Yansaneh’s case is properly dealt with by the state " he told journalists at a meeting at the Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA) offices in Freetown Saturday August 27.

The president further stated that the habit of not
respecting members of the fourth estate by some members of the public will no longer be tolerated.

The SLENA meeting was held after the late editor of
For Di People newspaper, Harry Yansaneh’s inquest ended in court no.1 and the six suspects were charged with unlawful killing of late Yansaneh.

With regards to the way forward, Kargbo said there should be a temporary lifting of the news black out against VicePresident Solomon Berewa, Parliament and the police. In response, Olu Gordon, editor of Peep magazine maintained that the police and parliament should continue to suffer the weight of the black out. "They should go by the ethics of both parliament and the police", he stressed.

Betty Foray of the Evening Scoop newspaper said since SLAJ can now speak with one voice, the association should see that the jailed Managing Editor of For Di People newspaper Paul Kamara’s appeal case returns to court and see that bail is granted the suffering editor.

Paul Kamara’s wife, Isatu Kamara thanked all
journalists for their efforts and solidarity during the Yansaneh case and admonished SLAJ to continue its good work and to see that justice prevails in the country.

Meanwhile six people have been indicted at Court No. 1 on Friday 26 August after one and half weeks of proceedings at the inquest of the late Harry Yansaneh of For Di People newspaper.

The indictees are Ahmed Komeh, Bai Bureh Komeh,
Aminata Komeh, Hon. Dr. Fatmata Hassan, Reginald Bull
and Olu Campbell.

Magistrate Adrian Fisher immediately ordered the
arrest of the suspects after the six jurors had
unanimously agreed that it was an unlawful killing and manslaughter.
His Lordship said the suspects should be arrested and taken to Pademba Road Maximum Security prison where they will await trial.

The late editor was assulted at his 1 short street
office freetown a few months ago. He later fell seriously ill and subsequently died at the Cupid clinic in Freetown. The inquest was set up to know the circumstances surrounding the death of the late editor after intense local and international pressure on the Kabbah government.

Lawyer Osho willams represented the accused
persons while lawyer Jenkins- Johnston and Sahid Sesay
represented the Sierra Leone Association of
Journalists(SLAJ).

The Coroner, Adrian Fisher, thanked the jurors and
the lawyers for their good perfomances during the
proceedings of the inquest.

In his remarks, lawyer Jenkins-Johnston thanked the coroner for the fearless way with which he carried out his duties. The lawyer also commended the jurors for their fair verdict.

Dr. Fatmata’s children had travelled to London before Yansaneh died. There have been calls for them to be extradited back to Sierra Leone. The matter is expected at the High Court at any time from now.

Photo: Abu Whyte Sesay, one of our men on the ground in Freetown.

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