Vickie Remoe Institute of Digital Communications

ECOWAS Court holds Sierra Leone liable for rights violations of student shot during protest

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1822

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has ruled that Sierra Leone is accountable for breaching multiple rights of Mohmed Morlu, a former student at Njala University who was injured by police gunfire during a student protest in Bo in March 2017.

This ruling marks a notable triumph in the campaign for police responsibility in Sierra Leone, and was made following the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture (CAT). 

In August 2022, Morlu, with the assistance of AdvocAid and IHRDA, filed legal proceedings, contending that the Republic of Sierra Leone had infringed upon his rights to personal security and freedom from torture. This allegation arose from an incident during a peaceful student demonstration in Bo in March 2017 when he was shot in the abdomen by the police. 

Additionally, it was argued that the State neglected to adequately investigate and prosecute those responsible for the shooting, thus violating Morlu’s right to recourse.

However, the court has instructed Sierra Leone to compensate Morlu financially.

In a press release jointly issued by AdvocAid and IHRDA, Morlu shared his reflections on the judgment, emphasising the enduring impact of the pain he endured seven years ago.

“After 7 years of living with the effects of this painful incident with no one being held responsible, I am relieved and grateful for the ECOWAS Court’s decision. This victory gives hope to other victims of police brutality that justice is attainable.”

 

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