The Managing Editor of FrontPageAfrica Newspaper and Online Magazine, Rodney D. Sieh has spent his first night at the Monrovia Central Prison.
Journalist Sieh is detained on orders of the Civil Law Court for his failure to pay US$1.6 million to Dr. J. Chris Toe for an Action of Damages for Libel.
Journalist Sieh's trouble came following series of publications in the FrontPage Africa Newspaper on former Agriculture Minister Chris Toe.
Sieh's incarceration was based on a Writ of Execution on the Congo Town offices of FPA on Wednesday, August 20, 2013.
The Writ of Execution came into force as a result of a Supreme Court Opinion, affirming the judgment of the lower court on grounds that FPA failed to perfect the Appeal, meaning filing a property valuation bond equivalent to the US$1.6M.
Appearing at the Temple of Justice, Journalist Sieh was escorted to the courtroom by his lawyers, Cllr. Pearl Brown Bull, Cllr. A. Kanie Wesso and Atty. Samuel Koffi Woods, a former Minister of Public Works who resigned from the government of President Johnson Sirleaf about couple of months ago.
Sieh was seen entering the courtroom with his pillow, towel, toothpaste and toothbrush in preparation for detention.
Minutes after he entered the courtroom, Sieh and his lawyers were seen going to the judge's chambers as sympathizers, civil society groups as well as local and foreign journalists seated in the court room while others waited outside the building for the outcome of the discussion with Judge J. Boima Kontoe.
As the closed doors meeting with Judge Kontoe delayed, the premises of the Temple of Justice became overcrowded with sympathizers, journalists and family members of Sieh.
Outside the court room, members of civil society groups were seen with placards chanting anti-corruption slogan while rejecting the imprisonment of Journalists Sieh.
Some sympathizers attempted preventing the detention of Sieh for several hours but Sieh pleaded with them to allow him go to jail. Riot officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU) were deployed to prevent any eventuality. But the sympathizers created the corridor and allowed Sieh to go to jail.
Editor Sieh was taken to the Monrovia Central Prison by the PSU escorted by a long convoy of journalists, civil society advocates, sympathizers and family members who wanted to see whether he was actually jailed.
However, there were concerns raised about the time Journalist Sieh was taken to the prison compound. Family members at the prison compound said the Journalist was jailed after 6:00 pm, the time stated by law incarcerate convicts or accused persons.
On Tuesday, Journalist Sieh told reporters that he referred to go to jail because he does not have US$1.6 million to pay. Members of the opposition believe that the case against Mr. Sieh is an attempt by the Liberian government to silence the independent media which continues to remain critical of Madam Sirleaf 's government handling of corruption and social issues.
This is second time for journalist Sieh has been sent to jail at the Monrovia Central Prison. The first was in 2010, when the Johnnie N. Lewis bench of the Supreme Court of Liberia held him liable for Contempt of Court.