Amnesty International, an international human right organization has exposed President Koroma and his Government on some of the autocratic tendencies exhibited by the President and his Government in 2015.
The Report, titled the 2015/ 2016 World Human Right Report questioned the incessant use of ‘executive orders’ by the President to arrest people who held dissenting views against his government
According to the report, in February 2015, Mamoud Tim Kargbo was charged with five counts of defamatory libel under the Public Order Act 1965 for forwarding a WhatsApp message he received, said to be defamatory to the President.
“He was detained for 52 days, released on bail during the trial, and eventually discharged on 28 July,” the report explained
The report further said that there were disproportionate restrictions on freedoms of expression and assembly during the state of emergency, adding that “following the removal of former Vice President Samuel Sam- Sumana on 18 March 2015, there was an increase in arrests of opposition members, bans on peaceful protests and a crackdown on dissent.”
The report also highlighted that on the 27 April, 15 members of Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), the main opposition party, and a senior officer from the Human Rights Commission were arrested in the town of Kenema following a protest at the SLPP office.
“They are currently on trial. There are concerns about excessive use of force during arrests by the police,” Amnesty Report revealed.
The report further mentioned that in August, Monologue, a radio programme hosted by journalist, David Tam Baryoh, was suspended by the Independent Media Commission (IMC) due to allegations that the show infringed national security, and incited violence and public disorder but that in October, he was fined 500,000 SLL (around US$100), and is challenging the decision in court.
The report also revealed that in December, Jonathan Leigh, managing editor of the Independent Observer, was arrested on accusations of publishing false information about reports of political violence.