Liberia: Coalition of Political Parties Decry 'Growing State of Insecurity'

Monrovia — A collaborating Liberian Political Parties under the Coalition of Political Parties, have expressed concerns about the growing state of insecurity beclouding Liberia in the wake of attempts by the George Manneh Weah-led government to extradite the leader of the Council of Patriots, Henry Costa to Liberia.

The four parties - the All Liberian Party(ALP), the Alternative National Congress(ANC), the Liberty Party(LP) and the Unity Party(UP) - in a statement Wednesday said Liberia is once again, returned to the dark days; our most recent history of respect for the rights of Liberian citizens has, once again, eroded.

Citing the case of Mr. and Rep. Yekeh Kolubah, two critical voices in the opposition community, the parties said, the opposition have become targets and subjected to political persecution by the Weah administration. "We strongly condemn these wanton acts of repressive political harassment and call on the Liberian Government to immediately cease the harassment and persecution against Costa and Kolubah," the parties noted.

The CPP says it believes that Mr. Costa and Rep. Kolubah are being persecuted purely for their political views and open disagreement with the leadership of the Liberian Government.

"Mr. Henry Costa and Rep. Yekeh Kolubah, both fierce critics of President George Weah have committed no crimes in Liberia. Their only "crimes" have been because they are unapologetically critical of the Weah's Administration, and have succeeded in organizing two mass protests that exposed the incompetence and bad governance of the Liberian Government."

Last week, the vehicle of Mr. Kolubah was searched and his driver arrested and jailed along with other January 6, 2020 protesters.

Authorities claimed that they found a gun in the District No. 10 lawmaker's vehicle after taking the car for a spin at its headquarters even though, there was no gun found when the car was seized.

The CPP said the attacks on the pair crossed the line.

Diabolical Play by LNP Slammed

According to the political parties, Mr. Costa entered Liberia on December 19, 2019 to a rousing welcome of supporters at the only international airport in Liberia, and triumphantly paraded through the streets and highways of Liberia with his supporters.

The COP leader, the CPP said, presented his travelling document to immigration officials at Robert International Airport, who certified that the documents were genuine and authentic and thus endorsed his entry into Liberian territory.

The parties said Mr. Costa stayed in Liberia for about three weeks and visibly interacted with officials of the Justice Ministry on his planned protest. "Never a time did the Ministry of Justice of which the Liberian Immigration Service is a part, raised any issue about the legitimacy of the Mr. Costa's travelling document. That the Liberian Government will now fabricate that Mr. Costa forged travelling document for which he is consistently being harassed, persecuted and prevented from leaving Liberia is ludicrous and unacceptable. Mr. Costa is entitled to depart and enter Liberia at will as long as he has not broken any laws. This is his constitutionally guaranteed right. The CPP demands that Mr. Costa be allowed to travel to his desire destination."

Regarding Rep. Kolubah, the CPP said, the lawmaker is being wrongly prosecuted on bogus and trumped-up charges, drawn up purposely by the Liberian Government to silence him. "The recent diabolical attempt by the Liberian National Police to frame Rep. Kolubah into illegal gun possession clearly exposed the desperation of the Weah government to incriminate opposition figures into crimes that do not exist."

No Trust in Weah's government

The parties said the recent development have dissolve trust in the Weah administration. "We do not have any shred of trust or confidence in the Weah Administration to be honest and just in handling the Costa and Yekeh's issues."

The four party's coalition is therefore demanding that the government speedily constitute an independent committee to probe and evaluate the government's claims against Mr. Costa and Rep. Kolubah. "We demand that the committee comprise members of the international community, civil society, Christian and Moslem leaders. Consequently, we strongly warn the Liberian Government to take no action until that independent committee has completed its findings."

Additionally, the CPP said it has written the Government of Sierra Leone NOT to return Mr. Costa to Liberia. "It is our understanding that the Liberian Government has requested the Sierra Leonean authorities to return Mr. Costa to Liberia. We call on the Government of Sierra Leone to meet its international human rights obligation and reject the request as Mr. Costa has committed no crime in Liberia. Under international human rights law, the principle of non-refoulement guarantees that no one should be returned to a country where they would be subjected to persecution, face torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and other irreparable harm. This principle applies to Mr. Costa. Non-refoulement prohibits States Sierra Leone from transferring or removing Henry Costa from its jurisdiction or effective control since there are substantial grounds to believe that Mr. Costa will be at risk of irreparable harm upon return, including persecution, denial of fair trail, or other serious human rights violations. International Courts and international human rights mechanisms have interpreted the prohibition against refoulement to apply to a range of serious human rights violations, flagrant denial of the right to a fair trial, risks of violations to the rights to life, integrity and/or freedom of the person."

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