Liberia: National Civil Society Council Wants Coalition of Political Parties, Unity Party Reprimand Mo Ali for 'Criminal Solicitation and Coercion'

Monrovia — The National Civil Society Council of Liberia has called on the Coalition of Political Parties (CPP) and the Unity Party to take punitive measures aimed at reprimanding Mo Ali for "criminal solicitation and coercion."

Mr. Ali, the Secretary General of the Unity Party (UP) was heard in a disturbing leaked audio coercing a lady identified as Augustina Gray to abort a pregnancy which he supposedly owned.

The incident has sparked a public outcry with some calling for his prosecution and resignation as official of the UP and the CPP.

The latest to weigh in on the issue is the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL). The Council, in a statement issued on Wednesday through its Chairperson, Loretta Alethea Pope Kai said it is deeply concerned, worried and taken aback over the recent wave of unprecedented violations of the fundamental rights of Augustina Gray as guarantee by Article Two of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article One of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

"The Council categorically condemned all verbal and written descriptions, abuses and denigration by segment of the general population due to the verified conversations ignited and sustained by Mr. Mo Ali to Ms. Augustina Gray," it said in the statement.

The Council further noted that "the consistent calls for abortion by Mr. Ali, and well-coordinated political-media related denigration messages via social media platforms, undermined the dignity, health, and social interaction, thereby amounting to defamation and negligence or reckless inflation of emotional distress to and against the person of Ms. Gray, which has the propensity of affecting her capacity to achieve her full potential as a responsible global citizen."

Ali's Apologies

Almost a week after the leak audio, Mr. Ali finally broke silence and in a statement issued on Tuesday, apologized to the public and his family. According to him, it was never his intention to cause harm to anyone or exhibit an attitude that disrespects women.

"As a father of three girls, I respect womanhood and know the importance of protecting women. I truly regret the embarrassment that this has caused my children, loved ones, friends, supporters, and the Unity Party," he said.

However, the Council recommends that following Ali's acceptance of guilt, coupled with the moral implications, and unforeseen health and personal security of Ms. Gray, the Coalition of Political Parties (CPP) and the Unity Party should take appropriate steps aimed at reprimanding Mr. Mo Ali for criminal solicitation and coercion; and that the Government of Liberia directly or through non-state actors provides vigorous, and sustained psycho-social intervention and security, if need arises - fulfilling Article 15 (a) and Article 16.

Also in the wake of the recent video posted on social media which contradict the audio recordings initially published by electronic and social media, the Council called for stronger support for Ms. Gray, adding this should include the persistent family concern and counsel, state investigation surrounding Gray's actions and current state-of-being. "This abrupt changes from a sober character to irrational state-of-being raises doubt of consciousness and increases the sense of coercion or strong extended influence."

The Council cautioned all Liberians and the media, irrespective of their alignment to any member of the parties, to respect their rights and dignity; and called for all matters surrounding these recordings to be handled legally and avoid public destruction of the parties' character, image, and further curtail all verbal abuse, condemnation and harassment of Ms. Gray.

It called on all officials of public institutions and political parties, civil society and private institutions to cultivate a moral character consistent with the value of morality, human rights and human dignity as they build relationships/partnerships, provide technical or financial interventions to marginalize segments of the population. "These are moral obligations require of all decent citizens and public officials," it said.

Frowning at Cyber Bullying

The Council, in the statement said it has spoken with the parties involved directly and indirectly and also diversified its engagement platforms; holding consultations with legal, health and policy minded practitioners and institutions.

The Council furthered that its "observation of the outburst of immoral well staged condemnations of Ms. Gray on social media simply point out the power of cyber bullying, adding these recordings contradict an early version from a moral minded and scared defenseless female rejecting abortion on religious principle and lack of personal experience."

It claimed that the new recordings have further put Ms. Gray at greater harm's way, adding "We hope her videos expression were purely conscious, not tailor by any extended, influence, inducement or intimidation. Every action exerted on Ms. Gray undermined her dignity and violated her fundamental rights."

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