Parliament of Sierra Leone Set to Pass Another Dangerous Law

According to a just released report of Africanist’s Chernoh Alpha M. Bah, there is an ongoing debate in Parliament to pass a new law that will replace the National Security Act of 2002.

See full report below to gain insight about the proposed new act :

“Parliamentarians in Sierra Leone are debating a new National Security and Central Intelligence Act 2022, a new law that replaces the National Secutity Act of 2002.

The proposed legislation contains several provisions that limit individual freedoms and human rights, including citizen’s privacy rights and free access to information.

The Bill, when passed into law, will authorize the director general of the proposed National Security and Central Intelligence Agency to carry out sting operations against citizens and organizations, to search premises without warrants, to seize computers and other devices, and to take property or even intercept private communication of citizens and organizations under the pretext of national security.

Some of the draconian provisions of the proposed legislation are embedded in Part VII of the Bill. Various provisions under Part VII of the Bill specifically authorize the director general of the proposed National Security and Central Intelligence Agency to request information on any person or group of persons without a warrant, and to also order a sting operation against any individual or group believed or suspected to be a threat to national security.

The Bill even allows the proposed Agency to undertake undercover operations or use undercover agents against citizens and groups believed or suspected to be threats to national security.

Whereas the Bill gives security operatives and cabinet officials enormous jurisdictional powers to curtail individual freedoms and privacy rights, the proposed law does not clearly define what actually constitute a “threat to national security” thereby giving cabinet officials and security operatives unlimited powers to crackdown on dissenting voices in the future. Successive regimes are likely to exploit and use such draconian powers against critical voices in the media and wider civil society. Opponents of any successive regime also risk being criminalized and labeled a national security threat.

The Bill was developed in April 2022 along with the Public Elections Act 2022 and Political Parties Act 2022. The proposed legislation has been in Parliament since June 2022. MPs have been debating the new legislation without any public consultation and open conversation on its content and implications.

Many Sierra Leoneans are still unaware of the content of the proposed law and how it will affect their individual freedoms and privacy rights.

Africanist Press will be publishing an in-depth analysis of this new proposed legislation with the aim of pointing out its implications to civil liberties and other constitutional rights of citizens.

We produce below this brief update excerpts of some of the dangerous provisions in the proposed legislation. A full copy of the Bill will be published on the Africanist Press website with our accompanying analysis in due course.

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Stay tuned for our in-depth analysis.”

 

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