13 February 2018

Sudan: Liberians Held in Sudan's Prison for Years Want Govt Intervention

Monrovia — "I am an Oil Engineer. I have been in prison in Khartoum, Sudan, for the past six years. It all started when I completed my studies in Oil Engineering in Kuwait. I came to Sudan in search of a job and started working for an oil company called EL-Basher Oil Company."

"When it was time to pay me, they plotted against me and said I owed the company US$150,000 and that I should pay it back. Where will I get that kind of money from? I know nobody here in Sudan."

"There is no Liberian Embassy here in Sudan," said detainee Sylvester P. Scott, Jr, in a video circulating on the Internet.

Scott, who through a friend, Victor Jones, released a video on Facebook, told this newspapers that he knows of at least eight Liberians, who are presently locked up in prisons in Sudan ranging from at least three to six years, with nowhere to turn, as Liberia has no diplomatic ties with that frican state.

"The five of my Liberian brothers here in jail were plotted against. They worked for their farm managers and time for them to pay them, they were sent to prison by their farm managers, stating that they (Liberians) own them and that they have to pay back monies before they can be paid," Scott narrated in the video. He also confirmed that to FrontPageAfrica when he was contacted.

"Where will they get that money from, when there is no Liberian Embassy in this country and nobody for us to turn to."

According to him, the total money all six of them are in the jail allegedly own is US$13,000.

He further stated that they have been trying to get in touch with friends and family back home in order to get them out of prison, but to no avail, until he was able to get in touch with a US-based Liberian, Victor Jones, who works with the Royal Family Radio in the US. It was Victor, who posted Scott's video on Facebook.

"We are just here behind bars and we only go out by 5 a.m. every morning for counting and get back in by 3:30 p.m. We are suffering; if the Liberia government does not come to our aid, something bad will happen to us."

"Sometimes we go out of water for weeks and if we do not have money to buy water, we don't drink."

" We are in prison with Sudanese, who are incarcerated for money business as well. We seriously need help; we are appealing to our new President, George Weah, to please come to our aid before we die," he narrated sadly from the Huda Central Prison in Khartoum, Sudan.

Scott told this newspaper from his prison, that this prison is more of like a political prison and they get regular visitors from top Sudanese government officials, who for the last six years have always promised to help but nothing has come out of those promises.

According to him, nearly all of them in that prison are there because they allegedly own the state some money.

Like all his other colleagues, Scott said they go by aliases and for him, he goes as Yayah Hassan Touré.

He stated that they had been advised by their employers to change their names in order to escape the attention of Sudanese immigration personnel and so their original Liberian names aren't known in prison.

This newspaper contacted the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) but nobody could speak on the issue, as all the Commissioners were yet to be confirmed up to press time.

However, Mr. Elias B. Shoniyin, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign said someone had forwarded the same video to him but he does not know the source in order to act accordingly.

"We want to get contact information of the man in the US who did the recordings of these Liberians who are believed to be in prison, in order to authenticate the facts regarding the crimes they have committed."

"Once we can do that, we can write the Government of Sudan through our diplomatic means, to see how best we can have them released from prison," Deputy Minister Shoniyin stated.

He furthered disclosed that as in the case of Libya, and how they were able to free 19 Liberians through IOM, so through that same means, the Ministry can do the same in the case of those in Sudan.

It can be recalled that December last year, a Liberian, Franklin Teah, returned home from what he called a living nightmare in Libya.

Teah was one of the luckiest Liberians, who was stranded in Libya but managed to make his way back home.

He had to become a Guinean in order to make his way back through that sisterly Republic on November 1, 2017.

A few months ago, some Liberians and other African nationals, who were imprisoned in Libya, were set free after disturbing videos of ill-treatment of the African migrants in Libya circulated on the Internet.

Yet, there are still reports of some Liberians treading dangerous journeys in search of greener pasture, as in the case of Sylvester P. Scott Jr. and others, who are now in a Sudanese prison and appealing for the Liberian government to intervene.

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