Liberia: Former Senate Foreign Relations Chair Abel Massaley Pleads with U.S. Gov’t for Release from Prison of Dr. York
Monrovia – A former Deputy Ministry of Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Abel Massaley, has pleaded with the United States Government to see reasons and free the jailed Liberian diplomat, Dr. Malachi Z. York from detention and subsequently allow the Liberian Government to repatriate him to Monrovia.
Dr. York, a former Liberian diplomat, is facing over a 100-year jail sentence in a US prison.
According to Massaley, the U.S. being a great nation, which champions the cause for justice for everyone across the world, should not hesitate to respect the international conventions to which it is a signatory.
“I was a former Chair on Foreign Relations at the Liberian Senate and I also served as Deputy Foreign Minister of Liberia. I am indeed aware that this man, I mean Dr. Malachi Z. York, is a Liberian citizen. There are court rulings to that effect,” he said.
He added that the U.S. Government should respect the court rulings from Liberia by releasing Dr. York from prolonged detention and allow his repatriation unconditionally.
Citing Article 29 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Massaley said Dr. York should not have been arrested by the US government because he was functioning as a diplomat of another nation.
Article 29 of the Convention states, “Diplomats must not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. They are immune from civil or criminal prosecution, though the sending country may waive this right under Article 32.”
“When Dr. Malachi Z. York met all his citizenship requirements as per the law of Liberia, the then sitting President of the Republic of Liberia, Charles Taylor appointed him based on a careful and proper vetting to serve as Consul General to the State of Georgia near Atlanta, United States of America,” Massaley disclosed.
He further stated that by virtue of that appointment, and the Vienna Convention, now is the time for the U.S. to respect the diplomatic tie between it and Liberia by freeing and allowing Dr. York to be repatriated to Liberia.
He disclosed that the Garlawolu Law Firm has uncovered, through Criminal Court “B,” all documents relevant to Dr. York’s freedom from imprisonment and forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is confident that the Ministry will see logic, after careful review of all of the documents, and engage the U.S. Government.
“Cllr. Francis S. Garlawolu (deceased), July 2004, sued the Liberian Government at the 6th Circuit Judicial Court in Montserrado County in an effort to compel it (government) to go to the defense of its citizen (Dr. York). The 6th Circuit Judicial Court, by order of Judge Yussif Kaba (now serving in ECOWAS), verified all of the pieces of evidence submitted by Cllr. Garlawolu and ordered the Liberian government to engage the U.S. Government in an effort to free and repatriate Dr. York,” he said.
“Once government makes the appropriate representation at the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia, it will be a good start,” he noted, adding: “The U.S. is an architect and signatory to most of the world’s conventions which, I am of the strongest conviction, will see reason and free Dr. York from incarceration.”
It was former President Taylor, who appointed Dr. York as Liberia’s Consul General.
According to him, former President Taylor was elected democratically by the people of Liberia and the very election that brought him to power in 1997 was verified by the U.S. as a free and fair election.
“That meant that Taylor had the democratic will of the people of this country to administer the foreign relations of the country and administer the security affairs and to do everything appertaining to the presidency of this country,” he said.
Frowning on why Dr. York was, in the first place, obliged by a U.S. Court to testify on whatever charges levied against him, Massaley said Article 31 of the Vienna Convention was blatantly violated against the diplomatic status of Dr. York.
“Article 31: “A diplomatic agent shall enjoy immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the receiving State. He shall also enjoy immunity from its civil and administrative jurisdiction…”
Massaley noted that the U.S. should not have obliged Dr. York to testify in whatever way in a court, or be imprisoned for allegations of conspiracies or even committing any of the crimes for which he has already spent over 16 years of the 135 years guilty verdict from the Middle District Court of Georgia in 2004.
“The U.S. is seen today as the leader of the free world and, as such, they should set good examples for the rest of the world to follow,” he further noted.
Meanwhile, on September 26, 2018, during the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, sympathizers of Dr. York appealed to President George Weah to intervene by engaging the U.S. government on Dr. York’s release from prison.