23rd August 2017
Journalist Bailed as Clash with Deputy Internal Affairs Minister Intensifies
By SLAJ Press Release (01/08/16)
As bad blood between some journalists and government officials continues, the latest journalist involved Sam Lahai has been bailed.
According to a Sierra Leone Association of Journalists SLAJ press release, Journalist Sam Lahai was recently released on bail from his detention at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Freetown. (Pictured: Deputy Internal Affairs Minister Sengu Koroma).
The Kenema based journalist who is also the Assistant Secretary General of SLAJ East Regional Executive spent a weekend at the CID on the orders of Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Rtd Maj Sengu Koroma, for allegations of defamation.
Lahai's bail bond was strangely set at Le20 Million and was released to the President of SLAJ, Kelvin Lewis, Public Affairs Secretary Princess Gibson, and legal team comprising Joseph Egbenda Kapuwa Esq and Musa Mewa Esq.
According to lawyers, the bail bond is ridiculous as the maximum fine for the (alleged) offence on conviction is Le 1 Million.
In an earlier press release calling for the immediate release of the detained journalist and an urgent repeal of criminal defamation laws, SLAJ notes that politicians continue to conspire with the Police to use criminal libel laws as a potent tool to cower journalists from holding public officials accountable.
"Their intention, we have come to realize, is not to rightly defend alleged infringement on their reputations but to lock up journalists and "teach them a lesson", " the release further states.
SLAJ reiterates its call on the Government of Sierra Leone to ensure the immediate repeal of defamation laws as contained in the Public Order Act of 1965, and urge other stakeholders to support this call.
The SLAJ press release was signed by the National Secretary General Mr. Ahmed Sahid Nasralla.