Amnesty International, Sierra Leone, -12/26/94

Amnesty International, Sierra Leone, -12/26/94

 +     Electronic distribution authorised               +
 +     This bulletin expires: 26 December 1994.         +

 EXTERNAL (for general distribution)  AI Index: AFR 51/06/94
                                      Distr: UA/SC
                                      14 November 1994

 Further information on 335/94 (AFR 51/04/94, 9 September 1994)
 - Death Penalty

                  and 11 others
Twelve soldiers have been executed by firing squad, nine during the night of 11 and 12 November 1994 and a further three later during the day of 12 November. Among those executed was 77-year-old Amara Conteh, a lance- corporal who was sentenced to death on 7 September 1994 after being convicted of collaborating with rebel forces which have been fighting government troops since 1991. The other soldiers executed, whose identities are not yet known, had been convicted of one or several of the following charges: collaborating with rebels, armed robbery, robbery with violence or murder.

All had been tried by a court martial, although details of the trials and convictions are not known. They do not appear to have had any right to appeal against conviction and sentence. The former Attorney-General and Secretary of State for Justice, Franklyn Kargbo, resigned in September 1994 in protest against the use of the death penalty.

The latest executions have been described as a crack-down on indiscipline in the army. According to reports, 25 soldiers have been sentenced to death by courts martial since the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) came to power following a military coup in April 1992. A further six soldiers are on trial before a court martial on charges of murder. Amnesty International believes that further executions of soldiers convicted and sentenced to death by courts martial may take place.

These are the first executions to take place in Sierra Leone since December 1992 when 26 people - nine civilians and 17 military and police officers - were executed hastily, apparently after a trial by a special military court which was established by the NPRC to try treason cases.

By the end of 1993 government troops had regained most of the areas in the south and east of the country previously held by rebel forces of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) which invaded from neighbouring Liberia in 1991. However, the security situation in Sierra Leone has seriously deteriorated during 1994; hundreds of civilians have been killed in attacks on towns and villages and on Sierra Leone's major roads, including in areas previously unaffected by fighting in the centre and north of the country. Although responsibility for these attacks has been officially attributed to rebel forces of the RUF, the continued presence of the RUF in Sierra Leone is widely disputed. Attacks appear to have been carried out by disaffected or deserted soldiers to loot property and illegally exploit minerals, particularly diamonds. Witnesses have reported that those carrying out the attacks wear full army uniforms.

 + Supporters of Amnesty International around the world are  +
 + writing urgent appeals in response to the concerns        +
 + described above. If you would like to join with them in   +
 + this action or have any queries about the Urgent Action   +
 + network or Amnesty International in general, please       +
 + contact one of the following:                             +
 +                                                           +
 +      Ray Mitchell, (UK)            +
 +      Scott Harrison, (USA)          +
 +      Guido Gabriel, (Germany)  +

Message-Id: <>
Date:  Fri, 25 Nov 1994 12:13:41 -0500
From: Faraz Fareed Rabbani 
Subject:AI: Sierra Leone bulletin (fwd)

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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