| Jan 6, 2021
Supporting Mariatu and her Twins
Finding sureties, or finding people to be responsible for someone being released from correctional custody while they await trial, is an important aspect of AdvocAid’s work. During our work in 2020 we found that a number of women, like Mariatu, struggled to meet the bail conditions required for their release, often due to the lack of family able or willing to stand as surety.
While she was heavily pregnant, Mariatu’s husband abandoned her and their three children to live with his new girlfriend. Struggling to feed herself and her children, Mariatu went to beg her husband to help care for his family. Her husband refused to return home or provide for his family. Distraught and jealous, Mariatua stabbed the girlfriend on her side during an argument.
Nine months pregnant with twins, Mariatu was arrested for wounding with intent and detained in a police station for 14 days. She was later transferred to the Kabala correctional center where she gave birth to a boy and girl. Unfortunately, she remained detained with her twins throughout the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Sierra Leone. In October 2020, AdvocAid was able to convince the magistrate to reduce her bail conditions. Her bail conditions required a single family member to stand as surety while she awaits trial. In part because of the stigma, no one, including her husband, is willing to do so.
Mariatu is still at the Kabala Correctional center with her twins. AdvocAid continues to provide welfare support and we continue to work to secure the release of Mariatu and her twins. With your support AdvocAid will continue to hold more legal education sessions this new year to increase communities’ knowledge on legal rights processes including the importance of standing as surety for women like Mariatu.
*name changed to protect her anonymity