The Sierra Leone Police has in a press release dated 24th March, 2023 called on the attention of the public that the Amnesty International Report titled “Seven months after August’s protests which turned violent in some locations, no justice yet for those injured or the families of those killed” is completely distorted and partial.
According to the press release, the Sierra Leone Police is concerned not only about the veracity of the allegations contained in the report but also the manner in which they were presented against the Sierra Leone Police.
“Therefore, the Sierra Leone Police wishes to state the following: The use of force by the Sierra Leone Police to contain the violent insurrection in August 2022 was proportional. Reasonable and necessary given the facts and circumstances to accomplish a legitimate law enforcement purpose. And a Special Investigation Committee was established by His Excellency Brigadier (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio on 24 August 2022 to examine, among other things, the consequences of the insurrection and the response of the security forces. Therefore, any official police investigation into the killings of protesters and bystanders may have prejudiced the outcome of the Special Investigation Committee”, the press release explained.
The press release continued that while the Police continue to express sorrow for the loss of lives generally.
Amnesty International fails to report on the savage manner in which unarmed Police Officers were chased and brutally murdered by civilians to the extent of beating their dead bodies. This apparent omission by Amnesty International undermines the impartiality of the report. Further, it is insensitive to the plight of families of slain Police Officers and a dereliction of duty.
The release also stated that the Criminal Investigations Department provided all detainees, who were arrested following the August insurrection, access to their lawyers in compliance with due process.
Sierra Leone Police wishes to reassure the public and all international partners that its primary responsibility for law enforcement and crime investigation would be discharged in compliance with international and national human rights standards.