The Judiciary of Sierra Leone has granted an application submitted by the defense on behalf of Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, authorizing him to leave the country's boundaries and jurisdiction for specialized medical treatment. This development was disclosed in court almost two days prior and was confirmed by President Julius Maada Bio during a national address delivered on January 18th, 2024.
President Bio clarified that this decision was reached despite the Attorney General's recommendations and enables the suspension of ongoing trials of the former President Koroma on charges of treason. He characterized this as a humanitarian gesture that does not diminish the importance of uncovering the truth surrounding the events of November 26th, 2023, for which Dr. Koroma has been accused of conspiring and collaborating to orchestrate the unrest.
According to President Bio, this should dispel the rhetoric of political witch-hunt in this situation.
The release of Dr. Koroma on medical leave has elicited mixed reactions, with some individuals deeming it a prudent decision in the interest of peace, a means of bridging divisive gaps and diffusing tensions that the ongoing prosecution would have undoubtedly fomented, given the apparent lack of evidence against the statesman. Others have criticized the court's actions as a reversal by the government due to the continued pressures from international partners.