20 January 1998


Journalist held at unknown location

Incident details

Michael Danielson



(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - On 17 January 1998, Michael Danielson, a sports writer
for the "Independent Observer", was arrested by soldiers in Freetown. He is
still being held at an unknown location. Danielson had been in Freetown
researching a story about a soldier. In the course of his research the
soldier came to his home and assaulted him. Danielson went to military
headquarters to complain and was assured that the assault would be
investigated. However, on the evening of 17 January, the soldiers in charge
of the investigation came to Danielson's home and arrested him. It is
believed that he may be held at military headquarters, Cockrill, Freetown,
where prisoners are reported to be kept in containers. There is no definite
news of his whereabouts since his arrest. ARTICLE 19 seriously fears for the
safety of Michael Danielson. Other journalists recently arrested in Sierra
Leone have been tortured and, in at least one instance, hospitalized (see
IFEX alert of 13 January).

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • requesting information about the whereabouts of Michael Danielson and
    seeking assurances that he will not be tortured or otherwise ill-treated
  • pointing out that he has been held without charge for longer than the 48
    hours permitted under Sierra Leonean law
  • calling for his immediate and unconditional release, since he has
    apparently been imprisoned solely for carrying out his professional
    activities as a journalist, a breach of Article 19 of the International
    Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Sierra Leone has ratified

    Appeals To

    Major Johnny Paul Koroma
    State House
    Sierra Leone
    (Fax is currently out of order)

    Mohammed Kandeh Bangura
    Minister for Tourism, Information and Culture
    Fax: +232 22 22 44 39
    Tel: +232 22 24 09 11

    Paolo Bangura
    Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
    Fax: +232 22 22 56 15

    (in Brussels)
    Peter Kiyembeh
    Brussels, Belgium
    Fax: + 32 27 71 82 30

    the Sierra Leone diplomatic representative in your country

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    ARTICLE 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression
    6-8 Amwell Street
    EC1R 1UQ
    United Kingdom
    info (@) article19.org
    Fax:+44 20 7278 7660
    Sierra Leone
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