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Special Court for Sierra Leone – Four persons convicted last month of contempt for interfering with the administration of justice at the Special Court were sentenced 11 October, 2012 to terms of imprisonment ranging from 18 months to two years.
Ibrahim Bazzy Kamara and Santigie Borbor Kanu (aka “Five-Five”), who were each convicted on two counts of interfering with the administration of justice, were sentenced to prison sentences of two years on each count. Justice Teresa Doherty reduced their sentences by two weeks in consideration of their changed conditions of detention during the trial. The contempt convictions will be served concurrently, meaning they will each serve a total of one year and fifty weeks, in addition to the sentences they are currently serving at Mpanga Prison in Rwanda on convictions for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Kamara was convicted on September 25 for attempting to induce a witness to recant (to state that he testified falsely) testimony given before the Special Court, and for disclosing the identity of a protected witness. Kanu was convicted of offering a bribe to a witness, and for otherwise attempting to induce a witness to recant testimony given in Special Court proceedings.
Hassan Papa Bangura (aka “Bomblast) was sentenced to two 18-month prison terms for his convictions on two counts of offering a bribe to a witness, and of otherwise attempting to induce a witness to recant testimony given before the court. The two sentences will run concurrently. He will receive credit for the time he spent in detention during his trial.
Samuel Kargbo (aka “Sammy Ragga”) received two 18-month suspended sentences, meaning that he will serve no jail time as long as he remains of good behaviour for the next two years. Kargbo pleaded guilty at his initial appearance in July 2011 to offering a bribe to a witness and of otherwise attempting to induce a witness to recant his testimony. He subsequently testified for the prosecution.
During the four-month trial, the court held proceedings at the SCSL courthouse in Freetown and in an ICTR courtroom in Kigali, Rwanda. Bangura and Kargbo participated in their trial in Freetown, and Kamara and Kanu participated in Rwanda. The two courtrooms were connected by VTC video link.
Under the Special Court Rules which were in effect at the time the offences were committed, the court could have imposed a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment, a fine of two million leones (approximately $500), or both.
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