21 January 1998


Two additional "Herald Guardian" journalists reported arrested; "We Yone" journalist arrested; freelance journalist arrested

Incident details

Sylvanus Kanyako, David Koroma, Mohamed Kallon



(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - According to Article 19, at the time of the arrest of
"Herald Guardian" newspaper journalist Sylvanus Kanyako (see IFEX alert),
jounalists David Koroma and Mohamed Kallon were also arrested. The three
were arrested by officers of the National Intelligence Service at the
newspaper's offices. According to ARTICLE 19's information, the reason for
their arrest was an article which was critical of a senior government
official. Reportedly, the three were taken first to the official's house,
where they were tortured. They were later transferred to police custody.

**New case and update to IFEX alert of 13 January 1998.**

In other incidents, ARTICLE 19 has also received reports of the arrest of
two journalists for allegedly supplying information to a clandestine radio
station. Desmond Conteh, a senior writer for "We Yone" newspaper, was
reportedly arrested on his way home on 14 January. Anthony Swaray, a
freelance journalist, was arrested on about 12 January.

No criminal charges have been brought against any of these five journalists,
who have already been held beyond the 48-hour limit permitted under Sierra
Leonean law. They have been held
incommunicado. They are alleged to have been tortured by being beaten,
burned with cigarettes and other means. David Koroma has reportedly been
admitted to the police hospital at Kington
Barracks as a result of injuries sustained under torture. The other four are
reported to be held at police headquarters at Slatter Terrace, Freetown.
They are reported to be tied up tightly at all times and are in very poor
physical condition.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • requesting urgent action to ensure the journalists' safety
  • calling for their immediate and unconditional release, since they are
    clearly imprisoned on account of exercising their right to freedom of
    expression, guaranteed under Article 19 of the International Covenant on
    Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Sierra Leone has ratified.

    Appeals To

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

    Please cc your appeals to:

    Kandeh Bangura
    Minister for Tourism, Information and Culture
    Fax: +232 22 22 44 39

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

    the Sierra Leone diplomatic representative in your country

    (in Brussels)
    Peter Kiyembeh
    Brussels, Belgium
    Fax: +32 2 77 18 230

    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
    More from Sierra Leone
    • Freedom of the Press 2016: Sierra Leone

      In December, the editor of the Independent Observer was arrested and charged with publishing false information. The paper had incurred multiple sanctions from the IMC over the preceding year.

    • Freedom of the Press 2015: Sierra Leone

      Ranked 103 in annual global media freedom report

    • Freedom in the World 2014: Sierra Leone

      Police open fire on residents protesting development of palm oil plantation