The remanded executive member of the opposition United Democratic Party has explained how the Police Intervention Unit officers mistreated them on April 16th as they held a peaceful protest demanding for justice for Solo Sandeng and others.Mr. Sandeng, an executive member of the UDP, was tortured to death for leading a peaceful protest calling for electoral reforms on April 14th.
In his sworn affidavit, Femi Peters said the peaceful protesters, led by the party leader Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, were attacked by some PIU officers at Kairaba Avenue. “One of them identified me with my yellow T-shirt and informed his fellow officer “he is one of them, can’t you recognize him.” From that moment on they hit me with their batons. They wore boots which they used to kick me on my left hip where I had a fracture before,” Mr. Peters wrote.
Peters was forcefully thrown into the waiting police truck. He landed on “top of Mr Darboe who was then bleeding profusely on the head.” They were transported to the PIU Headquarters in Kanifing.
As we descended from the truck, one of the PIU officers slapped Mr. Darboe on the left cheek. Another arrested protester Dodou Ceesay too got slapped and blown on the face when he asked why the PIU officer was mistreating people who are standing up for them.
After being examined at the PIU headquarters, Mr. Peters was asked to make a statement but he refused to do so until his day in court. Peters was later told that he had been charged with unlawful assembly and that he should make a statement.
He said medical assistance was provided to those who sustained injuries the following day. Photographs of all detainees were taken before being sent to solitary confinement in Mile II Central Prisons.
“The cell I was taken to is a room 2 meters wide with a small door, no mattress and the place was full of cockroaches’ rats, insects and mosquitoes. It was only three days later that I was moved to a different cell. Some of our personal belongings were taken away from us at Mile II.”