Mahtani Sabrina (Sierra Leone)

Sabrina is a Zambian born, UK educated advocate who has worked both at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda established after the 1994 genocide and the War Crimes Tribunal in Sierra Leone.

She went on to read for a Masters in Transitional Justice in the New York. Her passion for justice started when as a child he father was unjustly imprisoned in Zambia on a trumped up charge of treason. This childhood experience brought home the vital need for much more effective legal representation on the continent. But it was on a mission trip with Tearfund and the Christian Lawyers Association that her two passions – her passion for justice and her passion for God – where brought together.


It was during her time in Sierra Leone that Sabrina came to witness first hand the plight of women on death row in that country. Often being convicted without legal representation, denied any right to appeal and despised by all as the very worst and the very lease of these.

A report recently released by the UN cites the ongoing abuse within Sierra Leone’s prisons and the failure to protect the rights of inmates as a serious threat to peace in the country. Sierra Leone suffered a brutal decade-long civil war that formally ended in 2002, although the country continues to experience widespread extreme poverty and is currently ranked second to last on the Human Development Index.

The UN report, entitled ‘Behind Walls: An Inventory and Assessment of Prisons in Sierra Leone’ highlights the excessively lengthy periods of remand experienced by most prisoners and their lack of access to legal representation, as well as the squalid conditions of the country’s over-crowded prisons. The systematic violation of rights within the country’s prisons is cited by the report as a risk to security and stability in Sierra Leone.


Sabrina returned to Sierra Leone in 2006 to establish AdvocAid with a group of friends. She provided Legal aid to Female prisoners.

Sector: Criminal Justice Reform  Selected: 2009 Sabrina Mahtani provides legal aid to female prisoners in Sierra Leone

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