The ceremony held at the Santa House in Freetown, was specifically aimed at addressing cores issues affecting suspects and inmates in detention centres country wide , such as charges preferred against suspects, state and conditions at various detentions centres, protracted detention of inmates and suspects by the country’s legal justice entity, and how Prison Watch could partner with the relevant national institutions, towards the successful implementation of the project.
Giving an over view of activities and programmes of Prison Watch , Mamba Feika thanked all court monitors n various locations, for their concerted efforts and avowed posture in promoting and prioritizing human rights issues in detention centers across the country.
He told the well attended gathering that, this January 2017, marked twenty years of the existence of Prison Watch in Sierra Leone, which he said is a clear indication that, institution had not only shown it existence, but shown promise to exist beyond twenty years.
Mamba Feika pointed out that, his organization had two years engagement with the European Union, and in the coming two years, Prison Watch would be monitoring access to justice and promoting human rights, through legal representation in places of detention.
According to him, he said the two years project was aimed was at creating the opportunity for inmates to be treated humanely in consonance with section 43 Act No.6 of 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone which stated that, the president shall ensure and respect treaties and international agreements, adding that issues bothering on human rights must be the fundamental functional activities of the president and government of Sierra Leone.
The human rights advocate also noted that, chapter 3 of the same constitution recognized section the protection of the fundamental human rights and freedoms of individuals, protection against torture, and degrading human treatment and rights of persons deprived of liberty.
He added that, with support from European Union, his institution would explored all avenues humanly possible in ensuring that the administration of justice and protection of human right was enhanced and improved in compliance with international best practice , coupled with daily monitoring and legal representation.
“We have noticed from long time practice that a lot people had been detained without being afforded hearing within the reasonable time, and there is a suspect who had spent 74 days at the Criminal Investigation Department detention, and is pleading with the police to charged court, and afforded a fair hearing rather than incarcerating him permanently”, Mamba Fieka asserted.
One of the project key activities , he said would geared towards providing training facility for members of the Sierra Leone Police Force, the Sierra Leone Correctional centre, so as to as afford people hearing within the reasonable time, by way of ensuring that, police preferred the right and accurate charges against suspects charged to court, as provided by law.
He observed that, many suspects had been charged to court by the police, as result of wrong charges which were concern to them charges, citing charges like absconding from home, absence from duty, accessory before the fact , alleged missing people, butchering, child protection, corrupt practice, sim pack fraud , noise making, obtaining credit etc.etc.
While assuring European Union representative of his institution’s readiness to ensure the successfully implementation of the project, Mamba Feika said that, Prison Watch is one of the human right organizations that was on record for protecting the rights of all person, and that they would judiciously utilized the fund provide their European counterpart towards to a smooth and swift implementation of the access to justice and protection of human rights in Sierra Leone.
Formally launching the project, European Union representative commended Prison Watch for promoting human rights issues by engaging the relevant state entities to promoting human rights, and the rights of people deprived of their liberties,
He assured the prison Watch of his organization’s support to implementation of access to justice programme by holding meetings with police, members of the Sierra Leone Correctional Centre , and at the same time reaching out to inmates and suspects in various detention centers, and for them to assess and determine the state and conditions of inmates , suspects in detention centres.
He urged the police and members of the Sierra Leone Correctional Centre, including the Parliamentary oversight committee to work collaboratively with Prison Watch in addressing issues affecting people’s rights, and further ensure effective and efficient human rights monitoring system in the country.
Statements were delivered the Chairman Board of Directors, Prison Watch, Chairman on Parliamentary oversight Committee on Human rights , representative from the Sierra Leone Police Force, the Sierra Leone Correctional Centre and other important dignitaries present at the launch.