Wednesday, August 12, 2015

After the mutiny acquittals -- the talk in Freetown

Whatever you might think about the duration of the mutiny trial in Sierra Leone that just ended with 13 acquittals (on top of another case in which the charges against a 14th soldier had already been thrown out), the journalism about it has been very good. Here's a post-trial report that's quite vivid and well done. Excerpt:
Director of Legal Affairs at the Ministry of Defense, Colonel I.M. Koroma, remarked that "It was a fair judgment. The verdict is just and in place. We have seen justice prevail. At last the 13 accused persons have been set free. Justice has finally been done." 
Colonel Koroma added that: "The prosecution failed to connect the accused persons to the particulars of offence, for which they were being charged. They did not go beyond the police evidence. That is the nexus and I am not disappointed." 
Defense counsel for the 14th accused person, Robert B. Kowa noted that the victory at the court martial meant a lot to him and to his career. 
"I am the first lawyer in the history of this country to defend mutineers who at last have been acquitted and discharged by a sitting military court martial," he said. 
State Prosecutor, Major Vincent Sowa noted that, "This is an historical trial. Today, we have seen the rule of law supersedes the rule by the law and wrong advice to the chain of command. I am not upset over the judgment. This shows that democracy is at work in Sierra Leone." 
However, one of the accused persons, Captain Prince Sesay said triumphantly that, "This is an excellent moment in my life. I give all the glory to God for fulfilling his word in my life. To him be all the praise. Thank God that I am free man at last!"
As far as we can tell, there have been no recriminations as a result of the acquittals.

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