7 August 2012

Liberia: 'Make Torture a Crime' - RAL Appeals to Lawmakers - Resubmits Anti-Torture Bill

The Executive Director of the Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL) has resubmitted the Anti-torture Bill to the 53rd National Legislature and at the same time appealed to said august body to make torture a crime in the Liberian society by passing same into law.

Speaking to this paper in an interview yesterday at his Benson Street offices in Monrovia, RAL boss, Jarwlee T. Geegbe said the Anti-torture bill was submitted to the 52nd National Legislature, but regretted that said bill was never passed into law.

Mr. Geegbe said he of the thinking and hope that admirable men and women of the 53rd National Legislature will see logic in the Anti-torture bill before them (Lawmakers), and pass it into law so serve as an instrument in helping Liberia to be a torture free society.

According to the Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL), Chief Executive, the Anti-torture Bill was resubmitted to the 53rd National Legislature some time ago following the passed out of the 52nd National Legislature and added that there are plans by members of the 53rd National Legislature to discuss said bill for its passage.

"There have received some positive responses from the seat of the 53rd National Legislature that there will be a hearing this week and we are of the hope that members of this august body will put the Anti-torture bill on the floor for discussion and later send same into committee rooms for it to be considered and pass into law," the RAL boss noted.

He pointed out that his Civil Society group was in close consultation with some members of the 53rd National Legislature to have the bill (Anti-Torture Bill), pass and noted that it is the domestication of the United Nations, UN Convention against torture which was ratified in 2004 by the Liberian Government,

Speaking further, Mr. Geegbe noted that the issue of the Anti-torture bill is so important that if pass into law and considered as a crime in the Liberian society will put Liberia on path with other countries that are fulfilling the implementation of the UN Convention against torture which was ratified by Liberia in 2004.

He expressed the hope that members of the 53rd National Legislature will pass said bill, stressing that the Anti-torture bill is not contentious, but in support of what many Liberians have suffered the wrath of said ugly act(Torture) in the past and called on them(Lawmakers), to pass said bill so that others will not be victims of torture.

"We are of the strong hope and convection that the Anti-torture bill will pass because it is not controversial, it is in support of what most of them (Lawmakers), have suffered in the time past and of course it is time for them make their history so that what they have experienced others will not experience it," Mr. Geegbe pointed out.

He asserted that if the Ant-torture bill is passed into law, Liberians will benefit in that said law will be used as a national instrument that will hold perpetrators accountable for the act of torture and victims will have redress either taking would-be perpetrators to court to face prosecution.

Mr. Geegbe who is also president of the Liberia Coalition for Human Rights Defenders (LCHRD), added that the proposal in the Anti-torture bill is very strong and calls for high punishment like life imprisonment when the act of torture results into permanent disabilities or death.

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