6 February 2013

Liberia: Rights Activist Appears in Court Today

The Executive Director of the Concerned Intellectual Association (CIA), a pro-democracy organization, Mr. Vandallah R. Patricks, is expected to appear at the City Magisterial Court at the Temple of Justice this morning. The court wants Mr. Patricks answer to a number of charges leveled against him including terrorism and impersonation among others.

State prosecutors say they have overwhelming evidence to prosecute Mr. Patricks. Among other things, the prosecutors accused Patrick of planning series of violent actions against the UN High Level Panel members who were holding a post 2015 MDGs development meeting in Monrovia last week, saying their evidence will be adduced in court.

On January 31, 2013, the Liberian government through the Monrovia City Court released the head of the CIA from the custody of the National Security Agency (NSA). The release of the CIA head was triggered by massive condemnations of the Liberian Government by several Liberians, including renowned Liberian human rights lawyer, Counselor Tiawan Gongloe.

The CIA of Patricks was among several civil society and rights groups that displayed placards at the entrance of the Capitol Building on Monday, January 28, 2013 to express their dissatisfactions about the government. This happened minutes before President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf delivered her Annual Message at the Capitol Building.

The Capitol Building is the seat of the Legislature. On Wednesday, January 30, 2013, Cllr. Gongloe addressed a news conference in Monrovia concerning the arrest and subsequent detention of rights activist Patricks. During the news conference, Cllr. Gongloe described activist Patricks' arrest and detention as "scaring".

The prominent Liberian human rights lawyer told the news conference that he was informed by family sources that rights activist Patricks was arrested 10:00 PM at his Old Road resident by plain clothes security men on Monday, January 28, 2013 and placed into a vehicle with license plate RL 52.

Upon receiving the information, Cllr. Gongloe further told the news conference that he immediately called on authorities of the Liberia National Police (LNP) on the matter, but they denied ever having any connection with the arrest and subsequent detention of the rights activist.

He said that he also called authorities of the National Security Agency (NSA), which also denied knowing anything about the arrest and detention of Patricks. However, the acclaimed Liberian human rights lawyer stated that he was informed by the NSA on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 that Mr. Patricks was in its (NSA) custody.

In a chat with journalists following the release of Mr. Patricks, Cllr. Gongloe disclosed that the government pressed the CIA boss with several charges, including terroristic threat. But the Liberian human rights lawyer termed the charges by the state as "unrealistic", averring that it is a "cover up for the secret arrest and subsequent detention of an ordinary Liberian citizen". "This is terrible for any democratic government that is elected on the free will and consent of the people. We pray that this does not happen again. Only kings, queens and military dictators can rule the way they want and not democratic leader," he said.

Cllr. Gongloe, who served as Solicitor General and Minister of Labor respectively during President Johnson- Sirleaf first term, indicated that the protection of the rights of every Liberian citizen must be assured by government.

"The violation of the rights of all begins with the violation of the rights of one. When one person rights is violated, everyone should be concerned. This is why I immediately intervened because I am not only a lawyer, but someone who was a victim of such undemocratic act," he added.

Details Created on Wednesday, 06 February 2013 09:45 Written by Our Staff Writer Category: Legal Matters


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