The ECOWAS Court of Justice will commence its hearing in a pivotal lawsuit, suit No. ECW/CCJ/APP/37/22, filed by Mohamed Morlu, a former Njala University student. Presiding over the case is Justice Edward Asante.

Awoko reports that Morlu is suing the Government for alleged violations of his right to remedy and justice access. He demands a USD 250,000 compensation, a government-ensured surgical procedure to remove a bullet in his abdomen, and initiatives to curtail excessive force during peaceful protests, which encompasses police training and the allocation of appropriate law enforcement equipment.

The lawsuit details that in November 2016, amidst a university lecturers’ strike, Morlu partook in two student-led “peaceful protests” to the Ministry of Education office in Bo in February 2017. During one march, they faced a police barricade near the Bo West Police Station. These officers, unlike the ones accompanying the students, were from the Operations Support Division (OSD) of the Sierra Leone Police and were heavily armed.

As students engaged with Ministry staff, two police trucks filled with armed OSD officers, headed by Mohamed Turay, or Yete Yete, neared the peaceful protestors.

Subsequent confrontations saw stones thrown by students, which was followed by an order from Turay to open fire. Fleeing gunshots, Morlu was shot in the upper abdomen by an OSD officer. He later awoke in Bo Government Hospital. Persistent pain led to CT scans, which confirmed the bullet’s presence, but surgical removal was deemed potentially harmful.

The Independent Police Complaints Board (IPCB) found the police’s actions to be excessive. They suggested referring the case to the Sierra Leone Ministry of Justice’s Director of Public Prosecutions for legal counsel regarding possible prosecutions. However, no directives have been issued to date.

The initial hearing will see Justice Edward Amoako Asante as the chief judge, supported by Justices Gberi-Be Ouattara and Sengu M. Koroma.