Sierra Leone’s Information Minister Ibrahim Ben Kargbo told Awoko that his government is not under pressure from the American Government regarding the first accused person, Steven Perez, over the current cocaine investigation, and the case of forcefully and unlawfully landing an aircraft in Sierra Leone.
Unconfirmed reports filtering in to Awoko had indicated that the American Government, through its embassy in Sierra Leone, had made several representations to the government about Perez, an American citizen, in the ongoing trial. The issue surrounding first accused Steven Perez became even more intriguing when Lawyer Melron Nicol, who was originally representing the first accused, had to withdraw his representation on grounds that he was being harassed, as his house was pelted with stones for three consecutive nights. Nicol also cited personal reasons for withdrawing his representation.
Despite the apparent chaos surrounding the first accused, Minister I.B. Kargbo affirmed they, as a government, are not under pressure.
The American Embassy continues to approach the Sierra Leone government for different ways they can access their citizen; the embassy was even allowed access to the Central Prisons to see the conditions under which Perez is being held.
Minister Kargbo said there are no plans to take the accused out of Sierra Leone, as he will be tried under the laws of Sierra Leone.