Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Revisited:President James Michel  is using  a compliant Court to punish people who opposed him.

Bernard Sullivan, a supporter of the SNP, has been confined to a police jail for nine days on a court order based on a flimsy and unjustifiable  accusation of having made a threat and inciting violence against the  person of the President because of a comment on his Facebook page.

On March 28, 2011, Sullivan, an avid blogger on Seychelles politics, had referred to the role of James Michel in the coup d’etat of 1977 on his Facebook page. He had referred to the armed overthrow of the legitimate government as an act of treason, with a comment which amounted  to saying that Michel should be brought to justice for it.

On June 9 2011, a State prosecutor brought Sullivan  before the Victoria Magistrate’s Court  and asked that he be remanded in custody. The police have stated by an affidavit placed before the Court that the comment was a threat on the life of the President and said Sullivan’s incarceration was necessary for them to conduct investigations and to prevent him from interfering with evidence.

Sullivan’s lawyer, Bernard Georges, argued that the request was unjustified because the Facebook page had been copied and was available on the internet outside of Sullivan’s control. There was no other evidence that Sullivan could interfere with, hesaid, and the police had had over five weeks to take any action. He pointed out to the Court that the Police had done nothing since March 28 when the alleged threat was made, which would signify that they did not consider it to be a threat at all. (Picture: Sullivan led off to jail)

Georges told the Court that the custody order would be only a means to punish Sullivan pre-emptively, because no charge would be brought or, if brought, would never justify conviction.

Magistrate Brassel Adeline, who is a former official of Mr. Michel’s ruling ‘Parti Lepep’,  ordered remand of nine days in police custody.

Source: SNPseychelles.sc 6-10-11

Friday, September 8, 2017


A letter from Alexia G. Amesbury

In view of recent events and disclosures as a result of the Finance Public Account Committee FPAC, Seychelles finds itself is a position of  possible transnational corruption which has in recent years been elevated to an international offence but in practical terms it is not considered serious enough in order for heads of state or cabinet members to be prosecuted in foreign jurisdictions. There is evidence to suggest that, in certain cases, corruption may take the form of a crime against humanity. This possibility extends significantly the jurisdictional ambit of national courts and empowers the International Criminal Court to consider a case. Moreover, the restorative component of such criminal prosecutions should aim at restoring, through civil mechanisms, the funds illegally appropriated to their rightful recipients, the defrauded local populations, under the principle of self-determination.

The question is, can the actions of a past President, fall into the category of Grand Corruption of kleptocrats, who have pillaged their respective countries and their people of countless billions of dollars?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines kleptocracy as "a society whose leaders make themselves rich and powerful by stealing from the rest of the people.

Navanethem Pillay, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, says: "Corruption, whether in the public or private sectors, poses a critical threat to the enjoyment of human rights. It weakens institutions, erodes public trust in government and impairs the ability of states to fulfil their human rights obligations".

In the author’s view perpetrators should be tracked down and prosecuted, their assets sold and the proceeds used to alleviate poverty, which in Seychelles currently stands at 40%.

Combating corruption requires a strong, collective effort. Corruption is not a way of life, it is a violation of human rights. It is a crime against humanity and should be treated as such. Based on the revelations of the investigation by the FPAC it is becoming increasingly clear that legislation should be brought in, to create special courts and/or tribunals and if need be special prosecutors to tackle the level of corruption that Seychelles finds itself in, and that should be the first step towards alleviating poverty if the Government is serious about attaining  that goal.

 Another question that is widely discussed is that of immunity from prosecution of past presidents. The answer is to be found in Article 59 (2) of the Constitution, which I quote in full. “Not withstanding article 18(6) or article 19 (1) or (7) or any other law, proceedings such as are referred to in paragraph 1 (the granting of immunity from all criminal and civil claims of a sitting president) may be brought within three years of a person ceasing to hold or discharge the functions of the office of President unless the period prescribed by law for bringing the proceedings concerned had expired before the person assumed or commenced to discharge those functions.”

Alexia G. Amesbury