Liberia: Permit Denied as MOJ Warns COP of Treason Charges

Liberia's Justice Minister Cllr. Frank Musa Dean says the Ministry is without authority to grant the Council of Patriots (COP) permit, protection or approval to execute a planned 'Weah Step Down' campaign which violates the Constitution and statutory laws of Liberia.In the Minister's response to the COP on Monday, 2 December, he warns the organizers of the planned Weah Step Down campaign scheduled for 30 December that the campaign is unconstitutional and bespeaks treason, an offense against the internal security of the State.

"However, given the facts and circumstances herein described above, we are without legal authority to grant you permit, protection and/or approval to undertake an act which is, indisputably, in clear violation of the Constitution and statutory laws of Liberia," Cllr. Dean writes.

He details in the communication that the Ministry has taken due cognizance of the several public pronouncements emanating from the hierarchy of the COP, charactering the assembly as the beginning of a "Weah Step Down" campaign.

Justice Minister Dean says the Ministry is further aware that in preparation to execute planned objectives, the COP has solicited and received funding from individuals, both within and without Liberia, some of whom may not be Liberian citizens.

He warns that individuals comprising the leadership of the COP will be held personally, individually and collectively culpable and liable under the law for consequences associated with their actions.

Reacting to the Minister's communication, COP Acting Chair Mr. Mo Ali told this paper via mobile phone Monday, 2 December that nowhere in the COP's communication did it say President Weah must step down.He argues that the COP cannot stop people from saying what they want to say on radio, but its official communication to the Ministry says in furtherance to the June 7 protest, they want to assemble on 30 December and government must provide security for them.

He notes that comments that President Weah must step down is not part of COP's official plan, so it is not coming from the group.A COP letter dated 11 November 2019, authorized by Mr. Ali informs the Ministry of Justice of another peaceful assembly in furtherance to the June 7, 2019 peaceful assembly held here.

According to the COP, the peaceful assembly is being organized and scheduled to begin on Monday, 30 December and would potentially last for several days in Monrovia.The group writes: "During this peaceful assembly, we intend to gather as many as 100,000 persons and we will be gathering at the Seat of Government, Capitol Hill. Those participating in the assembly will begin gathering at 6:00 am GMT and they will come from various parts of the country."

COP says it looks forward to the Ministry's usual cooperation in providing security for the peaceful assembly.

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