Last updated: 4 april, 2011 - 14:57 GMT

Freedom from death row

"MK (right of photo) greeted by an ex prisoner after her release"    (photo © AdvocAid 2011)

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'MK' had spent six years on death row in Sierra Leone and resigned herself to a life behind bars.

The woman known simply as MK had been accused of poisoning her baby step-daughter. She thumb-printed a confession in which she said she had given battery fluid to the child.

MK says her husband had told her not to deny what was put to her by the police. He had said he would be able to bring the case to a conclusion.

In March 2005, MK was found guilty of murder and condemned to death. The death penalty is mandatory for murder in Sierra Leone, but there have been no executions since 1998.

MK's appeal came before the Court of Appeal in 2008, but was rejected on a technicality.

In 2009, the legal charity AdvocAid became involved, and in late 2010 the Court of Appeal agreed to hear MK's case due to the human rights issues it raised.

In March this year, the court nullified the original trial and released MK from jail.

"I couldn't understand what was happening and it was as if I was deaf"

Simitie Lavaly of AdvocAid was also in court and she had to repeat to MK what the judge had said. Simitie says that she and MK wept, and says even the prison officer guarding MK was weeping because MK was so well-liked.

First broadcast on 4 Aprill 2011

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