Sierra Leone – “I was in jail and you came to find me.” Mercy in action with Don Bosco Fambul

07 July 2017

(ANS – Freetown) – “Once a guard told us that we were not allow to kill cockroaches, because our lives were of less value than that of a cockroach,” says an inmate who spent 4 years in Pademba. The lives of inmates, "faceless men" in the prison of Pademba Road is an experience of continued suffering. Not by chance is it called "Hell on earth." But for the prisoners, life is not easy even when you leave the place. Unless someone decides to help you.

During this first semester of 2017 the Don Bosco Fambul legal team has facilitated and financially assisted the release of several inmates who are our beneficiaries from detention through the payment of bails and court fines. To ensure legal justice in the Pademba Prison, the team has also had several meetings with the Legal Aid Board whose primary responsibility is to provide justice for the voiceless across the country. The Legal Aid Board has lauded the work Don Bosco has done so far and has pledged to fully support its activities. The Team has completed and returned the Legal Aid Board accredited forms for legal aid service providers. In return, they have visited and inspected the facility for the provision of legal services.

The department will shortly be making contacts to stakeholders notifying them of some inmates in detention without indictment for well over five years.

Moreover, every year on the 27th April on the country‘s Anniversary of Independence, the President exercises his prerogative of mercy by pardoning and releasing some prisoners. A total of 144 prisons were released on the country‘s 54th anniversary. Among them, four of our beneficiaries were released.

Inmates who get their freedom come to Don Bosco Fambul and receive some support in the form of clothing, food items and financial assistance to facilitate their transportation to their villages and homes. One of them shared his own perplexity when he told us: “Coming out was like going from Hell to Heaven. Obtaining your own freedom again is a wonderful experience; but immediately after, when I was out, I realized that I didn’t know whether to go to the right or the left because nobody was waiting form me, with nowhere to go to sleep. The only chance was to go back to the streets or... to Don Bosco. Thank God, there was a place for me in the Group Home, my only chance for a new start in life.”



ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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