Sierra Leone’s President signs arrest order for journalist Tam Bayoh

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Sierra Leonean talk radio host, and journalist David Tam Bayoh was arrested in Freetown four days ago for comments he made on his show. The President of Sierra Leone signed an executive order that prompted his arrest. Tam Bayoh has not been charged, and is in ill health. This is not the first time that Tam Bayoh has been on the government’s wanted list. Earlier this year he was also arrested for comments he made about a car accident involving oldiers in the Armed Forces.

Amnesty International released this statement  on their website today:

Sierra Leonean journalist, David Tam Baryoh, has been detained since 3 November following an executive order signed by President Ernest Bai Korom. Under section 29 (17) (a) of the Constitution, he can remain in detention for an indefinite period of time under the state of emergency regulations. There have been no charges brought against him. Amnesty International believes he is a prisoner of conscience.

Prisoner of Conscience: is a person who who have been jailed because of their political, religious or other conscientiously-held beliefs, ethnic origin, sex, color, language, national or social origin, economic status, birth, sexual orientation or other status, provided that they have neither used nor advocated violence.

This is what a report from The Guardian says led to his arrest:

His popular weekly programme, Monologue, was taken off air mid-show last week as he interviewed an opposition party spokesman who criticised the president’s alleged intentions to run for a third term. During that show Baryoh also questioned arrests made in Kono, an eastern district put under curfew in October when a dispute between youths and police over a suspected case of Ebola degenerated into gunfire and rioting.

  • Karim jalloh

    Oh!! saloon I am in a deep regret with the attitude of our leaders they always like praise no to critic. Can we see our face? ohhhh yah!! to day it is a state of emergency but yesterday they are telling Dr. Bayoh they will be next present
    You know When fulls are ruling we prosperity is judging us
    stay tune you are a true hero.
    Don’t mine them.

  • Xena

    Thanks for highlighting this story, Vickie. There is a petition online for David’s release acccessible here:

    http://www.change.org/p/free-monologue?lang=en-GB

    I encourage readers/supporters to add their name to list. We need mass movements in Africa to effect lasting change.

  • At a time when Siera Leone is seeking international cooperation and assistance to stop the dreaded Ebola virus disease in the county, it is not a good thing to arrest journalists for criticizing the government handling of th Ebola outbreak. Right now, Siera Leone needs more friends than enemies.