Press Statement for immediate release
We, concerned citizens of Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties in the Diaspora, are alarmed by the current security conditions unfolding in Grand Gedeh County. Our collective concern stems from eye witnesses' accounts of the occupation of Grand Geedeh County by government military and paramilitary personnel who are allegedly invading the peace, privacies and sanctities of the residents.
We, concerned citizens of Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties living in the Diaspora, extend heartfelt condolences to the families of fallen United Nations peacekeepers who lost their lives recently in Ivory Coast while on peacekeeping mission. We pray and hope that United Nations, Ivory Coast, and the Government of Liberia cordially work in unison through a viable legal framework to identify and bring to justice those that were recently involved in the acts of violence in Ivory Coast.
We gathered from various reports by means of direct telephone contacts in Liberia that few days after the unfortunate murder of United Nations peacekeepers and some Ivorian citizens, allegations were made against Liberia by Ivorian authorities of harboring perpetrators of the fracases that led to uprooting many of our peaceful citizens in Grand Gedeh County.
The allegations continued that the Liberian government has not been able to do enough to either stop these fracases or protect citizens' rights in Grand Gedeh County. Some reliable sources in Liberia have informed our citizens group that immediately after the border incident, ten suspected individuals were declared wanted by the Liberian authorities. Our information indicated that nine of the ten wanted by the state were of the Krahn ethnic group while the additional one individual hails from the Ivory Coast.
Recent reports from Liberia filed with our concern citizens group alleged that homes of Liberian citizens residing in Grand Gedeh are consistently patrolled by Liberian military and paramilitary personnel who are constantly engaged in harassments, arbitrary arrests, and prolonged detentions of peaceful Liberian citizens residing in Grand Gedeh County without charges.
We, the concerned citizens of Nimba and Grand Gedeh wish to express our resolute and unequivocal condemnation of this alleged blatant violation of the rights of the citizens of Liberia residing in Grand Gedeh. We believe that the submission by all to the rule of law is the only path to lasting peace and genuine security in Liberia. Unfortunately, the Liberian government has persistently demonstrated the lack of respect for the supreme law of the land, which is the Constitution of Liberia.
We want to alert the government of Liberia that the arrests and detention of some Grand Gedeans for their alleged connection to mercenary activities in Ivory Coast and Government's imposition of curfew and alleged constant harassments and intimidations of peaceful citizens in Grand Gedeh is a contravention of the Liberian Constitution concerning FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS, CHAPTER III, and Article 11(a) through (c) and Article 12 through 21.
In view of the forgoing, we are calling on the Government of Liberia to unconditionally release all those held in detention without charges for more than 48 hours without delay. According to the Liberian Constitution, article 21(f), "every person arrested or detained shall be formally charged and presented before a court of competent jurisdiction within forty-eight hours. Should the court determine the existence of a prima facie case against the accused, it shall issue a formal writ of arrest setting out the charge or charges and shall provide for a speedy trial." There shall be no preventive detention. Where the Government of Liberia has not statutorily and constitutionally declared war and imposed the state of emergency, the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of our fellow Liberian citizens residing in Grand Gedeh cannot be remotely restrained for any unconstitutional reasons.
We hereby call on the government of Liberia to adhere to Article 21, supra and release all sons and daughters of Grand Gedeh County and all other Liberians who are held against their will or in violation of their constitutional rights. We express our solidarity with Grand Gedeh County citizens living in the Diasporas and all those who are directly impacted by this incident. We again call on the Government of Liberia to respect the fundamental rights of all Liberians living in Grand Gedeh County by removing all unconstitutional barriers including check points that tend to illegally restrain the freedoms of the people and violate their privacies, and safety in Grand Gedeh County.
Mr. Anthony Leewaye, Sr. ------- Concerned citizen of Nimba
Tel: 1-(763) 528-3309
Mr. Cyrus S. Cooper, Jr. --------
Concerned Citizen of Grand-Gedeh/Former Senatorial Candidate
Grand Gedeh County
Tel: 1-(347) 965-1962