Liberia: Court Re-incarcerates 7 Ivorians Previously Set Free

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Monrovia – The Criminal Court A has re-arrested and incarcerated seven Ivorians to be re-tried after they were set free, averting their extradition.

Report By: Augustine T. Tweh 0775524647/[email protected]

Defendants Komande Mohegnan Vakery, Nemlin Rerik Anbtiube, Frank Oliver Nioule, Junior Nioule, Edward O. Nioule, Julien Badison Toure and Blao Nocaise were set free two weeks ago by Criminal Court A after state prosecutor failed to adduce insufficient evidence to convict them.

The seven Ivorian nationals had been in detention at the Monrovia Central Prison since August 2012.

They were arrested in Grand Gedeh County after they had allegedly escaped the Ivory Coast for the alleged commission of the crimes of murder, theft of property, rape, and Arson leveled against them by the Ivorian government.

After their arrest and subsequent detention at the central prison, the Ivorian Government then requested the Liberian government to extradite them to face prosecution for the alleged aforementioned crimes.

During the hearing of the case at the Monrovia City Court, Magistrate J. Kennedy Peabody ruled and granted the Republic of Ivory Coast’s request through the Liberian Government to extradite the seven Ivorians to face trial.

Magistrate Peabody’s ruling was also based on an Extradition Treaty signed between the governments of Liberia and the Ivory Coast on August 24, 1972, and ratified on January 18, 1973.

Following Magistrate Peabody’s ruling, the defendants’ lawyer, Cllr. Amara Sheriff took an appeal to the Criminal Court ‘A’ for further determination into the case.

During the hearing of the case at the Criminal Court ‘A’, Judge Willie ruled that the defendants be released due to the failure of the requesting state ( Ivory Coast) to take seized of the defendants within the period provided for under the Criminal procedure Law, after state lawyers interpose no objection when the defendants lawyer moved for the Extradition to be dismissed and have the defendants released.

Two weeks after they were released and turnover to the UNHCR to be taken to third world country, state lawyers again filed a motion requesting the court to rescind its previous ruling that cleared the defendants of Extradition.

In the prosecution’s motion to rescind the judgment, state lawyers argued that they do not have problem with the release of the defendants but that the issue of national security and the interest of the Republic of Liberia were not taken into consideration during the legal proceedings.

Judge Willie then ruled: “Accordingly, this court is inclined to rescind its ruling of June 24,2019 dismissing the Extradition and releasing the defendants to the LRRC and UNHCR on the following grounds: Motion to dismiss is no the proper remedy to seek from the ruling of a magistrate or Justice of the Peace ordering the committal of a fugitive following an Extradition hearing; The motion to dismiss, which was granted the Movants/Appellants was secured in bad faith as the intent/outcome of the conferences was not to dismiss the Extradition based on the merits of the case as was spread om the minutes of court.”

He continued: “Therefore, the ruling of June 24, 2019, is hereby rescinded based on the above-stated reasons and the sheriff of this court is hereby ordered to re-arrest the movants/Appellants and incarcerate them at the Monrovia Central Prison.

“Meanwhile, this court having rescinded its ruling to release the Appellants hereby sound this caveat to the Liberian Government to work out the process as provided  for by law to have this matter concluded; otherwise, this court will be constrained during the August Term of Court to Sua Sponte and assign the Writ of Habeas Corpus for the Government of Liberia to bring forth the defendants before court to show cause for their continued incarceration.”

Based on Judge Willie’s Tuesday ruling in the prosecution’s motion to rescind the judgment, the seven Ivorians were re-arrested and incarcerated at the Monrovia Central Prison to be re-tried.

The re-arrest and incarceration of the Ivorians agitated their lawyer, Cllr. Amara Sheriff, as he was seen roaming in the courtyard in dismay.

Speaking to FrontPageAfrica, Cllr. Sheriff the court’s ruling as a “gross violation of their human rights”.

He said: “My impression is, it is a total travesty of justice. Our court lacks total credibility now. The court has a public treasury to protect, that public treasury is confidence, so the confidence is eroding gradually, particularly when it comes to this ruling.

“We filed a petition for Habeas Corpus, that was heard and granted, not a motion to dismiss. The petition for Habeas corpus was filed and the state did not even resist, they interpose no objection. The state has violated the rights of the respondents.”

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