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Page added on August 1, 2012

Deaf protest over incarcerated colleague

Deaf protest over incarcerated colleague thumbnail

A cross section of people with disabilities yesterday converged at NEC headquarter in a mild protest over the arrest of their colleague Foday Mattia, who spent 6 days in police custody over allegations of double registration.

According to some aggrieved members of the Sierra Leone National Deaf Association (SLNDA) the NEC did not liaise with the association to sensitize members of the deaf association on the laid down policies of the Biometric Voter Registration Process.

The president of SLNDA, Ramatu Sesay, expressed disappointment over NEC officials for not understanding their sign language and they therefore cannot communicate well with members of SLNDA.

She stated that when Mattia was arrested he was beaten by police to make a statement failing to understand that he cannot speak, and his rights, she said, were completely abused.

Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Union on Disability Issues (SLUDI) Kabba Franklyn Bangura disclosed that on June 2011 they wrote a letter to NEC on the burning issues relating to special needs that would access the disabled persons the right to vote in the November 17 polls without hindrance.

The letter stated that the visually impaired and deaf persons need fair access to mass voter awareness and communication programs. Therefore they need tactile balloting and training for their members to make them understand the complexities of the BVR process.

He said they are planning to meet NEC officials again to shed light on the same issue on Thursday August 2.

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