Kigali, November 14, 2011 (FH) - Sierra Leone's Deputy Minister of Justice Bockari Arrow John on Sunday visited eight countrymen jailed in Rwanda since November 2009, Radio Rwanda reported on Monday.

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The Sierra Leonean prisoners, convicted by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, were transferred to the Mpanga prison in southern Rwanda in 2009.

According to an article published October 16 by Sierra Leone's The Exclusive newspaper, the eight complained of "inhuman treatments" by the Rwandan prison authorities, including threats, beatings, lack of adequate medical care and the fact that their families do not have access to them.

"The Rwandan jail accommodating the Sierra Leonean detainees is of international standards", Rwandan authorities quoted Sierra Leon's official as saying after the visit.

The Sierra Leonean prisoners are former leading rebels, soldiers and militia from their country's 1991-2002 civil war: Issa Sesay, Morris Kallon, and Augustine Gbao of the RUF; Alex Tamba Brima, Santigie Borbor Kanu and Ibrahim Bazzy Kamara of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC); Musa Kondowa and Moinina Fofana of the Civil Defence Forces (CDF). They are serving sentences ranging from 15 to 52 years.

The Special Court was established in 2002 by the United Nations, with a staff both Sierra Leonean and foreign nationals. It was the first mixed tribunal of its kind with judges appointed jointly by the United Nations and the host country. The Special Court is now winding up with only the judgment of former Liberian leader Charles Taylor still pending.


© Hirondelle News Agency