Police detains Ady Macauley over televised opinion on the legalities of protest 

By Abdulaziz Samura

On Thursday 6th September 2022, a post from the Director of Legal Link,  Rashid Dumbuya made rounds on various WhatsApp groups reading  “I have been reliably informed that Ady Macaulay Esq. may spend the night in detention at the Criminal Investigations Department. This is a worrying trend indeed and the Sierra Leone Bar Association must not be silenced on this.”

The Former Human Right Commissioner added that, “No government, SLPP, NGC, C4C or APC must be allowed to treat a lawyer in this way for expressing his or her opinion on the law.”

Shortly after that post, social media was flooded with reports of the detention of the Former Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Ady Macauley at the Criminal Investigation Department of the Sierra Leone Police in Freetown. Discussions ensued  referencing the violent protests held on 10th August 2022 in the Western and Northern regions over the rising cost of living.

During the Weekly Police press briefing on Friday 7th September 2022, the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Brima Jah informed the press that Ady Macaulay will be released when they are satisfied with the information, he will provide to the ongoing investigation.

AIG Jah noted that Ady Macauley was arrested for inciting the public on the African Young Voices television program on Democracy and Governance program, where he stated that citizens can protest without having approval from the Sierra Leone police and he can provide free legal advice. The police cited this as an incitement.

Augustine Sorie-Sengbeh Marrah tweeted , “Former ACC Commissioner Ady Macauley detained pending investigations for his legal opinion shared on AYV. You can disagree with a lawyer’s opinion like you would with a doctor’s diagnosis but you cannot criminalize honest and free expression. Sadly, a dangerous precedent is being set!”

The protesters on Wednesday 10th August called for the departure of President Julius Maada Bio, who was elected in 2018 and still had 10 months left in his term. The demonstrators chanted “Bio must go” as they made their way through the capital, Freetown.  The anti-government protesters clashed with police in the streets of the capital and turned deadly.

The Institute for Governance Reform (IGR) in a tweet condemned the detention of Ady Macauley and called for his immediate release by the Sierra Leone Police, noting that Ady deserved bail just on his name recognition. “We note the rising political tension and the August 10 riot; appeal to all authorities to be calm and the police to protect free speech.”

Meanwhile, the Interim Secretary General of Interim Transitional Governance Committee (IGTC) of the All Peoples Congress party, Honorable Abdul Kargbo has informed the Truth team that Ady Macualey was granted bail on the eve of Friday 7th September 2022.

The Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA) has postponed its Extraordinary General Meeting that was slated for 7th October 2022 to 13th October 2022 to facilitate the release of their colleague, Ady Macauley.

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