New Democrat (Monrovia)

28 January 2013

Liberia: Two Fear Death - If Extradited to Ivory Coast

Two of eight persons slated for extradition to face mercenary charges in Cote d'Ivoire have expressed fears that they would be executed if they were sent back to their homeland.

All were indicted in Monrovia last year on charges related to the Ivorian civil. But last Friday after a ruling that has now made them vulnerable to extradition, they expressed frustration with the Court, saying they would be killed if they were extradited from Liberia.

Nioule Junior and Ourogbo Edward made the assertion after the Monrovia City Court Judge denied defence lawyers' request that the City Court lacks jurisdiction over the matter.

Defence lawyers said the matter was before the Criminal Court 'A' at the Temple of Justice where the defendants were indicted on the same subject matter.

Nioule Junior and Ourogbo Edward, along with Kromade Mohegman Vakery, Nemin Rerik Anbtiube, Djiezon Guei Martin, Nioule Frank Olivier and Toure Badison Julien were indicted with multiple crimes, including rape, mercenary, murder and theft of property.

The ruling at the City Court on Friday set the stage for the extradition process in which Junior and Edward claimed that an execution was awaiting them.

"I see no reason for our extradition because we are not Ivorians.

We are all Liberians from Grand Gedeh County. The claim by Ivorian authority that we wanted to unseat their government is untrue. They just want to kill us," Nioule Junior pointed out.

He said they were businessmen who were always in Ivory Coast doing business.

"We were arrested in Grand Gedeh based on falsehood with no thorough investigation. We are not rebel or coup plotters," he noted.

For his part, Mr. Ourogbo Edward, 30, said he was shocked by their arrest especially linking them to coup plot in Ivory Coast.

"The charge against us is totally ... because our track records speak for us. It beats my imagination to be accused with multiple crimes like this.

"This is my first time as a businessman to be wrongfully accused. I leave my ... with God because I'm innocent," he noted.

Presiding Judge Nelson Chineh rejected the defence lawyer's request that City Court lacked jurisdiction over the matter because the matter was before the Criminal Court 'A' where the defendants were indicted.

Judge Chineh said no formal record was before his court saying that defendants were indicted at the First Judicial Circuit after the defence lawyers withdrew their resistant against state prosecutors' 25-count petition for extradition.

Defence lawyers took exception to the judge's ruling, saying that they would take advantage of the law.

The ruling of Judge Chineh has set the stage for extradition process to begin at a later date at the Monrovia City Court, Temple of Justice.

The Ivorian Government in 2012 wrote the Liberian Government through the Ministry of Justice requesting for the extradition of eight of their citizens who have been charged with multiple offenses for attempting to unseat the government.

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