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Sierra Leone Court Orders Prosecution For Threats


Sierra Leone Court Orders Prosecution For Threats To Protected Witness

The Special Court for Sierra Leone has ordered the prosecution of five individuals for contempt of court for allegedly revealing the identity of, and threatening, a protected witness.

In its order, issued Friday, the Court said one of the five individuals, Brima Samura, revealed a witness’s name to two other people, who later threatened to attack the witness’s home.

Mr. Samura was an investigator attached to the defence team of Alex Tamba Brima, among the alleged leaders of the former Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) originally indicted by the Court in May 2003 on 17 counts – later amended to 18 counts and subsequently reduced to 14 counts – of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law during Sierra Leone’s bloody civil war.

The others individual’s named in the order are Margaret Fomba Brima, Neneh Binta Bah Jalloh, Anifa Kamara and Ester Kamara.

According to the Court, on 9 March Mr. Samura revealed the name of the witness to Ms. Brima and Ms. Jalloh, who said they knew where the witness lived and that they were going to attack her house.

Later that same day, when the witness in question was being driven from the Court’s premises, the four women shouted out the witnesses name and told her that they knew she was testifying in the trial and that they knew she was inside the vehicle.

The four women’s words had the effect of threatening and intimidating the witness as a result of her testimony, the Court said.

The Special Court is the world’s first hybrid international war crimes tribunal, and was established by an agreement in January 2002 between the United Nations and the Republic of Sierra Leone.

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