16 July 2013

Liberia: Grand Gedeans' Trial Takes Dramatic Turn

Monrovia — The trial involving several Grand Gedeans at the Criminal Court "D" at the Temple of Justice took a dramatic twist on Monday, July 15, 2013 when a co-defendant in the case turned state witness.

The Temple of Justice is situated on Capitol Hill, Monrovia. It could be recalled that in 2012, the Government of Liberia (GoL) indicted the Grand Gedeans who are currently standing trial on the charge of Mercenarism.

Among other things, the indictment divulged that since the post elections violence broke up in Ivory Coast in 2010 which led to the arrest of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, the defendants allegedly joined other Ivorians to cause havoc in that sisterly country. But the defendants have since denied the charge.

Some of the defendants charged by the state are: Nyezee Barway, Morris Cole, Issac Taryon, Emmanuel Saymah, Komande Mohegar, Frank Oliver Nioule, Moses Baryee, Moses Sarpee, Ophoree Diah, Bobby Sarpee, Djikizion Guei Martin, Sam Tarley and Prince Youty.

The prosecution is represented by the Ministry of Justice while the defendants are represented by their lawyers. According to our judicial correspondent, co-defendant Prince Barclay became state witness after the prosecution made a submission of Nolle Prosequi in favor of him (co-defendant Barclay).

Following the submission of Nolle Prosequi by the prosecution, the court accepted said submission and subsequently ordered co-defendant Barclay now state witness dismissed.

Few minutes later, our judicial correspondent stated the then co-defendant emerged in the court and began testifying in the case to the astonishment of the other defendants.

Taking the stand, state witness Barclay testified that he and some of his friends (defendants) were recruited in the Ivory Coast by one Bob Marley to fight alongside fighters of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo to remove the current Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara.

State witness Barclay further testified that Bob Marley gave each one of them 30 million CFA for the mission. He said Bob Marley was their commander and said that he was in charge of their operations. He said they were promised 700,000 CFA each if they had succeeded in their mission.

When quizzed by the defense counsels as to whether he could recognize any of the defendants, the state witness answered in the affirmative and thereafter he named at least 10 of the defendants. When further quizzed by the defense counsels if he had any knowledge about the killing of the seven peacekeepers in Ivory Coast, he also responded in the affirmative.

But he was quick to point out that he was not among those who killed the peacekeepers. State witness Barclay added that defendants Nyezee Barway, Morris Cole, Issac Taryon and Prince Youte were amongst those who allegedly killed the peacekeepers.

Meanwhile, the trial continues tomorrow Wednesday, July 17, 2013.

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