The New Dawn (Monrovia)

25 February 2013

Liberia: Grand Gedeans Want Justice

Grand Gedeh County Representative Alex Grant, has said that the continued detention of 27 of his kinsmen by the Government of Liberia without trial violates their fundamental rights.

"Through this press conference let these words go forth, that Grand Gedeans are not war mongers and had never started war at any time in the Liberian history. Their involvement in war has always been in self-defense or in liberation of a particular group of prosecuted persons," he said.

Addressing a news conference on Friday in Monrovia, Representative Grant said the perpetual detention of the 27 Grand Gedeans by the government under the disguise that they are brains behind the cross border attack in neighboring Ivory Coast is unacceptable and a clear violation their rights.

The lawmaker frowned at the government's action and stressed that Grand Gedeans are people, who demonstrate hospitality to their neighbors and strangers as proven by the large number of visitors and strangers currently residing in the county than in any other area outside of Monrovia.

Rep. Grant said the 27 Grand Gedeans were selectively arrested and had perpetually been kept behind bars, saying, "We are becoming jittery that these persons' arrest was based on imaginary perception and no available evidence to prove the charges labeled against them individually and, or collectively. We are reliably informed that statements attributed to them were extracted through dubious means or under duress."

He said the 'so called' voluntary statements extracted from the accused were done without due process or in accordance with Article 21, subsection C of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia. The Grand Gedeh Lawmaker pointed out that the case has not been placed on the docket for the February term of court.

"Some of those people were arrested from their farms and others from their towns and villages that are more than 200 kilometers away from that jungle border. One of such cases was the pronouncement of the Information Minister Lewis Brown last June, declaring some eight Grand Gedeans and two Ivorian 'Wanted' when of course some of the listed persons were in Monrovia going about their civil activities, and some have been living in Ghana for more than five years. We aware that there are betraying hands well supported to do anything to keep these Grand Gedeans in prison," he added.

Last week Thursday, a group of university students from Grand Gedeh County stormed the grounds of the Capitol, seeking intervention of their lawmakers into the protracted detention of their fellow kinsmen.

Receiving a petition statement from the students, Grand Gedeh Senior Senator, Isaac Nyenabo, promised that the legislative caucus of the county will constructively engage both the Executive and Judicial branches of government for a speedily trial of the accused individuals.

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