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Lawyer Martins Raises Concern Over Untried Remand Prisoners

Nov 11, 2009, 12:45 PM | Article By: Sainey MK Marenah

Lawyer Assan Martins, former Magistrate and a strong advocate for human right issues has again called on authorities to do something about the plight of untried remand prisoners.

Speaking in an interview with our reporter yesterday at his office in Serrekunda, Lawyer Martins stated that anyone who offended the law must be brought before a court of law.

He pleaded to the country's criminal justice system and the legal authorities to review the remand warrant of accused persons who have been detained without trial.

"We are a nation of conscience that if any person is accused of an offence should be brougth before a competent court for justice to prevail, that is if a man is accused he must have his day in court," Martins said.

The human right lawyer also cited instances where people complained about their relatives being remanded without trial for many years.

For him, "our law enforcement authorities should take it upon themselves to find out what is happening to people they remanded without being tried and see whether they had a case to answer." Such principles of law, he added, are entrenched in Section 19 of the constitution that deals with the protection of individual rights.

He expressed fear that if people are not brought to court within a reasonable time, then innocent remand prisoners will be at the receiving end.

"If nothing is done, such will chock-up our prisons and can be a cost for the government to keep them in custody," he said, calling on the concerned authorities to help address the situation.