‘They Did Not Give Us Justice’: Jailed Solider Tolbert’s Mother-in-Law Laments

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Monrovia – Madam Ellen Freeman, mother- in- law of Melvin Tolbert; an officer of the Armed Forces of Liberia who was sentenced to one hundred days in prison by the Armed Forces of Liberia discipline board for desertion of post has given an eye witness account of circumstances surrounding his arrest.


Report By: Henry Karmo[email protected]


In an interview with FrontPageAfrica she said, officers of the AFL surrounded the home of Mr. Tolbert her son in law minutes after her return home from work by 8:00 pm and informed him that he was under arrest on orders of Defense Minister Brownie Samukai. 

Madam Freeman said: “I was present and my daughter wasn’t home. I was present we were both in the kitchen discussing family matter when I saw a group of army people in our yard. I asked him have you done something wrong? 

He too was surprised over the presence of the officers and he said no. I tried to inquire from the officers and they told me not to get involve because the man is a military man”, she said.

She added “Group of soldiers came to the house to arrest him and said, the chief said, we should carry the man we have to carry him because he is an army man they can be arrested anytime.”

She further told FPA that during the arrest his hands were tied to the back of the vehicle that carried him and all efforts by her to accompany him to where he was being taken at that hour of the Night was unsuccessful. She further said, Tolbert did not resist his arrest but pleaded for her to go with them.

Madam freeman denounced claims that Melvin had no role to play in the dismissal of the brother of Samukai by the Liberia Revenue Authority. It has been rumored that the detained Tolbert is benefiting from security contract from the LRA that was once carryout by the Brother of Samukai.

“He doesn’t know anything about Alphoso working at the LRA. The boss at LRA does not know Melvin I was told that Samukai’s brother was dismissed after six months before Melvin took the Job they did not grant us Justice, Melvin has done nothing to Samukai,” she said.

Prior to his arrest and incarceration, he wrote several communications to the defense ministry authority concerning his health. In one of the communications dated March 7, 2011, addressed to Defense Minister Samukai, he complained that during one of the trainings, he got a stroke from a grenade blast while in the process of rescuing the life of a recruit.

In the same communication he told the Defense Minister that since the incident he has been treating himself with the help of his wife who made it possible for him to get treatment at the ELWA and Catholic Hospitals respectively.

“The most frustrating part of my career shows that no one really cares. Since I was honored by the President on Armed Forces Day in 2010, I have yet to receive my medal and citation. “

“Sir, I am an asset that I believe would best serve the needs of this army and I am prepared to serve this our country under extremely stressful condition either as a subordinate or superior anyplace, anytime, anywhere provided my health status is perfect,” the communication stated.

Sergeant Tolbert resigned from the army saying he wanted to seek medical treatment aboard but his pronounced departure has led him to trouble where he was first detained at the barrack prompting his lawyers to file a Wirt of Habeas Corpus against the Ministry of National Defense.

Tolbert living body was later produced in court where the Supreme Court ordered him back to prison until further proceedings but FrontPageAfrica has gathered that an administrative board set up by the authority of the Ministry of Defense to probe Tolbert, for Absence Without Leave (AWOL) has sentenced him to 100 days behind bars.

Family sources told FPA Tuesday that Tolbert, who is reportedly languishing behind bars at the EBK Barrack, was tried and sentenced in absentia by a two member administrative board headed by Gabriel Tarold and assisted by Clarence Brewer.

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