Help save my Father's life. Alfred Palo Conteh unjustly imprisoned, human rights violated.
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My name is Altilda Conteh, the daughter of Alfred Palo Conteh. We are both British citizens currently residing outside of the UK. My Father resides in Sierra Leone and I am a U.S. citizen residing in the United States. On Friday, 20th March 2020, my Father was detained by the Sierra Leone government without reason.
On Monday, 16th March 2020 (first meeting), due to his expertise and execution of duties whilst he was the Ebola Czar, he was asked by President Bio to join them in their fight against the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Without hesitation, my father unwaveringly pledged his support for the good of the country, ensuring thousands of lives would again be saved during this tough time. Even though this administration has been on a witch hunt to defame, and assassinate his character, my father freely volunteered to work with them to instill some sense of harmony and initiate a bipartisan effort.
On Tuesday, 17th March 2020, my father, the current Minister of Health, and other SLPP party members, went to Lungi Airport.
Later that same week on Thursday, the 19th of March (second meeting), my father went to the State House to meet President Bio and further discuss matters. Upon arrival, he specifically informed security he had a firearm (loaded) in his bag with all adequate licenses. Even though my father asked the security men to hold his bag, because he is fully aware of State House protocol, they refused to take his bag with the firearm in it. He was told it was fine for him to keep his bag. HOWEVER, MY DAD REFUSED TO TAKE HIS BAG INTO THE MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT, AND LEFT HIS BAG WITH THE FIREARM IN IT AT THE SECURITY ENTRANCE. After waiting 45 minutes, the head of security went to the waiting room and asked who the bag belonged to. My father answered it was his and then he was questioned by CID (Criminal Investigation Department). After questioning, he went home, ate, then slept.
On Friday, 20th March 2020, he was invited to CID for more questioning but was arrested upon his arrival, and less than 48 hours later he was transferred to Pademba Prison, one of Sierra Leone's most notorious and dangerous prisons. He was imprisoned without any formal charges of a crime, and accused of "wanting to assassinate the current president of Sierra Leone", a baseless accusation. This is a violation of Sierra Leone law as stated in the Information Pack for British Prisoners in Sierra Leone, page 10. This can be seen as yet another ploy to dehumanize an opposing political party member who has been imprisoned for nearly two weeks without any charges. On 30th March 2020, the Sierra Leone government finally charged him with treason and a myriad of other charges, totaling 16 counts. All of these charges are bogus and many of them contradict each other.
Many, if not all government buildings have CCTV for fool proof coverage, to deter and prevent crime, and to keep your employee’s honest. The government's prosecution team has refused to produce the CCTV footage which may hold evidence as to what transpired on that day. They are attempting to build a case on evidence they won’t share or produce; my father’s defense team has demanded this video footage. Initially when asked for the footage, they stated there was an power outage at the time the incident took place, which proved to be a LIE. Now, they are citing national security issues. All of these excuses are bogus and prove to their lack of integrity, unwillingness to get to the truth, and inability for my father to get a fair trial.
My father is currently in solitary confinement, is being denied access to clothing, books, proper food, and all basic necessities. He is also being denied family visitation.
My father has served Sierra Leone faithfully and is a member of the APC (All People's Congress, the opposing political party) party. He was in the Sierra Leone Army from 1976 until 1992, during which he was Officer Commanding the military police, and attained the rank of a Major. He later served as the Minister of Defense for Sierra Leone in 2007, when the previous president, Ernest B Koroma was elected. He later went on to be the Ebola Czar (CEO of the Ebola Response Center) in 2014 when the epidemic hit our beautiful land of Sierra Leone during 2014-2016. Later, he was appointed as the Minister of Internal Affairs, by the President, in 2016, and once again appointed as the Minister of Defense until the elections in the spring of 2017.
So, as you can see, my father's arrest is highly political. This is the second time within fifteen months the current government has arrested and detained my father for no just cause, however, this is the first time he has been taken to prison. Both times, he was arrested without being charged, but only to be harassed, degraded, embarrassed, and inconvenienced in an attempt to intimidate him. My father has sacrificed and served the great country of Sierra Leone which he loves for over 25 years and does not deserve such continuous harassment.
I am writing this petition because I'm concerned about the safety of my father and I would like you to please do all legally possible to have my father released, and dismissal of all charges. I love my father. This man has saved thousands of lives in Sierra Leone, defended many that had no voice whilst practicing law in the UK, improved the quality of life, and life expectancy of those he has served. My father is my superhero and a hero to many. He is also my first love, a pillar of my family, and the community. Alfred Palo Conteh is an asset to not just our society, but to the world. A well-educated man who would never jeopardize his legacy and all he has worked hard to obtain. He would never intentionally hurt or harm anyone. He also has an eight-year-old son who is an American citizen, who resides in Sierra Leone with my father's wife. Their safety is questionable due to the high profile of this case. Please help me and my family to ensure his release and safe return to my family.
Thank you all in advance for being an extended voice for my family and speaking directly to injustice.
Atilda Conteh ❤️
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