Speaking on the popular BBC Focus on Africa program on Wednesday, Mr. Mohammed R. Swaray, Minister of Information and Communication of Sierra Leone declared that the Bio’s administration will not take dictation from any government regarding the ongoing saga involving the head of the COP leader.
Said Swaray: “We just want to ensure that we fulfill his rights, he himself can attest to that, he’s been very well treated, we cannot take dictation from any other government, we’re a democracy, we value that. We have struggled far too long for democracy and this government is noted for its very strong democratic credential so we will not do anything on toward. So, as soon as we have gone through the process, we will do what we have to do.”
Mr. Swaray explained that immigration authorities in Sierra Leone received a call from its Liberia counterparts to cross check a few things regarding Mr. Costa. But the minister made it clear: “Henry is not in detention, he is enjoying the full human rights, we are a sovereign democracy, we don’t take instructions from other people. I can assure you that Henry’s human rights and basic freedoms will be respected. In fact, he posted something on Facebook that he’s being well-treated, he’s not been coerced, Mr. Costa who has led two protests against the Weah administration’s governance lapses, says he feared for his life if he was forced to return to Liberia. And he’s very well protected even though he’s in confinement. So, as a government we are doing everything humanly possible to ensure that we don’t interfere with his basic rights and fundamental freedoms.”
Earlier on Wednesday, day, a conglomerate of seven civil society organizations in Sierra Leone – Campaign for Good Governance, Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, Human Rights Defenders Network, Partnership for Justice, Network Movement for Democracy and Human Rights, Campaign for Human Rights and Development International and Amnesty International – issued a strong statement calling for Mr. Costa’s release.
Mr. Costa who left Liberia Sunday said Wednesday that he fled to Sierra Leone in hopes of catching a flight as he tried to board a flight for the United States. “I had attempted to board my flight to Istanbul, Turkey and then to the US. The immigration folks got alerted when I tried to check in and they called me up, very nicely – and they’ve been very nice, professional people. They raised some issue that there was information sent by the Liberian government or some source that I needed to not be allowed to board the flight. The immigration officers brought some police officers who accompanied me to the police station; they’ve been very nice to me. I’ve been held under protective custody. It’ not been seen as I’ve been arrested but of course my rights to move freely are curtailed but I’m not arrested but I am held under protective custody at the police station at Lungi.”