AdvocAid welcomes new Executive Director and Legal Officer

Title: AdvocAid welcomes new Executive Director and Legal Officer Year: 2017  AdvocAid is proud to welcome two new staff members to its team in Sierra Leone. Daniel Eyre joins the organisation today as Interim Executive Director and Cheryl Sembie started in August as Legal Officer. Simitie Lavaly, AdvocAid’s current Executive Director, is leaving after 6 years of working with the organisation. “I am sad to leave AdvocAid after such a long time, but am happy I am leaving the organisation in safe hands. It has been a privilege to serve as Executive Director and I am proud of all the organisation has achieved under my leadership. I will continue to support AdvocAid and its vision for a more just society for women and girls,” she said. Daniel Eyre has a wealth of experience working in human rights, having previously worked at the Special Court for Sierra Leone and Amnesty International. “AdvocAid changes the lives of women and girls in conflict with the law every day. I hope to build on the excellent work done by AdvocAid’s innovative and dedicated team. I believe that men can and must campaign for women’s rights and gender equality and look forward to doing this during my time at AdvocAid,” Daniel said. Cheryl Sembie is an experienced barrister, having worked at the Law Reform Commission and Sierra Leone Legal Aid Board. “Joining AdvocAid fulfils my ambition to further serve girls and women in my country. As Legal Officer I look forward to strengthening AdvocAid’s legal aid and police accountability work,” she said. Sabrina Mahtani, one of AdvocAid’s Board members said: “We are grateful to Simitie for all...

Sierra Leone: Justice for Women Who Kill

Title: Justice for Women Who Kill Year: 2017 Summary: Opinion Piece written by our board member Sabrina Mahtani about a woman who has not received her appeal judgement for the murder of her partner. This comes 7 years after AdvocAid placed the appeal. Aminata has been in prison since she was 17 years old. Aminata* was only 17 years old when she was arrested for killing her former boyfriend eight years ago. She was sentenced to death for murder in November 2010 and feared each day she would be executed before her sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the government on Sierra Leone’s 50th Independence Day on 27 April 2011. A local NGO, AdvocAid, filed an appeal for her in 2010 but Aminata is still waiting for her appeal judgment almost 7 years later. She, like many women behind bars, are often forgotten and overlooked. Aminata is from the Eastern region of Sierra Leone, Kenema, rich in diamonds. She is an orphan, is illiterate and did not go to school. Aminata was in a relationship with Foday* but left him as he used to beat her on a regular basis. Unfortunately, Foday lived in the same compound as Aminata as he was the landlord’s son and he used to harass her to continue the relationship. One morning in September 2009 it all got too much for Aminata. Foday was beating her with a rubber pipe and she stabbed him with a knife to protect herself. She was arrested by the police and detained for several days. AdvocAid hired a senior female lawyer to represent Aminata in court. She...