Africans Rising strongly condemns the arrest and detention of civil society activist Edmond Abu Jr. in Sierra Leone. On 10 January, Abu was arrested on contempt of court charges ahead of a hearing in a case between citizens and telecommunications companies over high charges. The arrest has been seen as an attempt to intimidate activists, organizers, and vocal citizens in the country.
In the past months, the people of Sierra Leone have made their voices heard and shared their frustrations over the difficult economic circumstances of their country, where inflation, fuel prices, and the cost of basic commodities continue to rise and youth unemployment remains high. The arrest and detention of Edmond Abu Jr. for 21 days, on charges that have not been proven, has further aggravated the situation as civil society groups across the country have joined their voices to condemn this act and demand his immediate and unconditional release
Edmond Abu Jr. is the executive director of the Native Consortium and Research Centre, a group that advocates for economic reforms and equality. He is one of the frontline economists and activists in the country who has consistently been decrying the country’s political and economic situation, especially in relation to telecommunications companies and petroleum products.
Africans Rising and its members in Sierra Leone call on the authorities to immediately release Edmond Abu Jr. As a movement, Africans Rising advocates for the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, and we encourage the administration of President Julius Maada Bio to uphold those laws as outlined in the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act no. 6 of 1991. We believe that Abu’s detention goes against this principle and against the principles of human rights. We urge Africans Rising supporters and members across Africa to join their voices and demand for his immediate release. Sharing this message with the hashtag #FreeEdmondAbu on social media will also help bring visibility and solidarity to his case.