The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara has disclosed that he has succeeded in securing the release of up to five hundred (500) people within the first one hundred days in office.
He said those he had succeeded in releasing have been held in prisons for some time now on flimsy charges and others who have not been indicted.
Mr. Kamara made this statement over the weekend at the Haja Fatmata Community at Wellington Freetown during the launching ceremony of the Women for Justice Organization.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, while explaining the importance of the Legal Aid Board to the people, noted that since independence, this is the first time an important institution such as the Legal Aid Board has been set up in the country to help provide legal service to people who cannot afford to hire or pay for legal services.
He said the setting up of the Legal Aid Board came as no surprise since providing free legal service to the people of Sierra Leone is part of the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s Agenda for Prosperity.
Mr. Kamara said during his appointment as Minister of Justice, His Excellency the President urged him to ensure that justice is served without fear or favour and to also ensure that the people properly understand justice.
This, Mr. Kamara said, is the main reason for enacting the Three Gender Acts, the Customary Marriage Act and the Devolution of Estate Act, all of which are aimed at empowering citizens especially women who in most cases are the direct victims.
He informed the gathering that under the leadership of His Excellency, the rights of women are now more recognized than before, stressing that it was in the past when women were confined to the kitchen but it is now time for women to take their places in the court rooms, the board rooms, Parliament and other important areas that used to be occupied mainly by men.
Mr. Kamara said after travelling the length and breadth of the country along with the Chief Justice, they came to realize that there are not enough judges across the country, more especially in the provinces, noting that that continues to create a lot of problems for people in the provinces since they are often compelled to travel to Freetown to attend court sessions.
As a result, he said, “we recommended ten magistrates to the President who have been approved as judges and are now working in different courts across the country”. This, the Attorney General, explained has helped to ease the burden on those who used to travel to Freetown to attend court sittings. “We have also dispatched several lawyers to the provinces for the same purpose”.
Making a statement on behalf of the Women for Justice Organization, the National Coordinator, Mrs. Hawanatu Kamara said the Women for Justice Organization was formed on the 5th January 2016 to serve as an interface between the ordinary people who find it almost impossible to meet or even talk to those in authority, such as lawyers, magistrates and judges and the judicial system that is there to protect particularly the vulnerable in society.
Mrs. Kamara said the Women for Justice Organization is determined to help women achieve their dreams of setting themselves free from sexual harassment and intimidation and becoming selfless, especially since the country now has a Legal Aid Board that is set up to serve the common man.