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Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2005 - Sierra-Leone

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 22 March 2006
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2005 - Sierra-Leone, 22 March 2006, available at: [accessed 27 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Assassination of Mr. Harry Yansaneh76

On 10 May 2005, Mr. Harry Yansaneh, former editor of the independent For di people newspaper, as well as a member of the National League for Human Rights and of the Amnesty International section in Sierra Leone, was violently assaulted and beaten in his Freetown office. Several of his aggressors were relatives of Mrs. Fatmata Hassan, a member of the Parliament for the ruling Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP).

In spite of intensive medical care, Mr. Yansaneh's health dramatically deteriorated a few weeks later, and he died on 28 July 2005.

On 1 August 2005, Mrs. Fatmata Hassan was summoned by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the national police to make a statement on the circumstances surrounding Mr. Harry Yansaneh's death, following a complaint he lodged shortly after his aggression with the Freetown central police station.

On 26 August 2005, according to the conclusions of the investigation requested by the government and carried out by the coroner, Mr. Yansaneh's death was "unlawful and illegal" and should as such be qualified as "involuntary manslaughter". In pursuance of the coroner's conclusions, an arrest warrant was issued against Mrs. Fatmata Hassan, Mr. Reginald Bull, a security guard of the building housing For di people, and Mr. Olu Campbell, who was present during the attack. All three were arrested that same day and placed in detention. CID further requested Messrs. Ahmed Komeh and Bai Bureh Komeh, and Mrs. Aminata Komeh, Mrs. Hassan's children, to be immediately extradited from United Kingdom for their alleged involvement in Mr. Yansaneh's manslaughter.

On 30 August 2005, however, Mrs. Hassan, Mr. Bull and Mr. Campbell were released on bail on the order of the High Court of Sierra Leone.

On 7 November 2005, during a press conference convened by the Sierra Leone Association of Journalist (SLAJ), the General Prosecutor stated that he had not been transmitted the coroner's investigation report, and that he could thus not take judicial proceeding against the suspects.

[Refworld note: This report as posted on the FIDH website ( was in pdf format with country chapters run together by region. Footnote numbers have been retained here, so do not necessarily begin at 1.]

76. See Urgent Appeals SLE 001/0805/OBS 061, 061.1 and 061.2.

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