Sierra Leone prosecutors charged former President Ernest Bai Koroma with treason and different crimes on Wednesday for his alleged involvement in a failed army coup that passed off on November 26, 2023. The announcement of the costs towards Koroma comes a day after 12 different people, together with Koroma’s former bodyguard, had been charged with comparable offenses.
In response to the discover launched by the Ministry of Info and Civic Training of Sierra Leone, Koroma was charged with treason, misprision of treason and two counts of harboring earlier than a magisterial courtroom in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital. An utility for bail was instantly filed and granted by the Excessive Courtroom on the identical day, on the situations that:
- A most of 10 individuals must be at his residence at each given time together with his spouse, youngsters, attorneys and members of his political get together;
- He mustn’t go away his home with out the expressed permission of the Inspector-Normal of Police;
- Solely the Nationwide Chairman and Nationwide Deputy Chairman of his get together are allowed to go to him;
- All visits to his residence must be permitted by the Inspector-Normal of Police; and
- He ought to present 2 sureties who must be senior residents resident within the Western Space of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
Together with Koroma, there have been 12 different former officers, together with Koroma’s bodyguard, ex-police and correctional officers, charged on Tuesday for his or her alleged roles within the failed coup. The fees embrace treason, misprision of treason, harboring, aiding and abetting the enemy.
The attempted coup on November 26, 2023, noticed a number of gunmen launch assaults on varied crucial areas in Freetown, together with the army armory at Wilberforce Barracks and a jail. Roughly 2,200 inmates had been freed and greater than 20 individuals had been killed throughout within the motion. After the assaults, Sierra Leone’s incumbent President Julius Maada Bio declared a nationwide curfew with quick impact on November 26. He additionally announced the arrest of many of the assault’s leaders and ordered investigation of the assaults.
After the assaults passed off, Koroma strongly condemned the “grave breaches of state safety” on November 27. He said that “any actions, occasions and pronouncements that threaten to undermine the political and social stability of the state should not have any place in a democracy.” He additionally urged for calm and for all stakeholders to prioritize the wellbeing and stability of the nation.
Nevertheless, the Inspector Normal of Police in Freetown summoned Koroma on December 7 for the investigation of the disturbances. Denying all affiliation with the November 26 occasion, he determined to “honour” the police investigation and reported to the police on December 8.
A December 14 statement of the Brenthurst Basis Advisory Board, to which Koroma is a member, stated that the incumbent authorities was “rightly involved” on the November 26 occasion as there had been a collection of assaults on elected authorities by unelected army assailants in West Africa these days. Nonetheless, the board expressed equal considerations on the investigation turning right into a “witchhunt, which is what’s happening with the summoning of former president Koroma by the police.”
Koroma’s case has been adjourned till January 17, at which level the state is able to name witnesses. Underneath the regulation of Sierra Leone, an individual convicted of treason may very well be sentenced to life imprisonment.