Monrovia – The Ministry of Justice says it has been treated unfairly and accused FPA of wrongly reporting, without any verification from the Ministry, that there are 17 female inmates incarcerated at the Monrovia Central Prison for years without court appearance.
“This report is sensational and has very negative and damaging human rights implication for the country. Importantly, the story is not true,” said a statement from the Ministry of Justice, Liberia.
Solicitor General Betty Lamin Blamo giving a breakdown of female inmates stated: “Here are the details of the female inmates held at Monrovia Central Prison (MCP) of the 17 inmates, three are convicted (Mamie Jarwee, Madusu Mallah, and Kou Saye) while ten were arrested a few months ago between February 2016 to June 2016”
The SG further stated “Of the 10, only two are charged with non-bailable offenses (Marion Zorh for Rape and Helena Swaray for Arm Robbery).
The remaining eight (8) are charged with bailable offenses the procurement of bond for which does not lie within the responsibility of the prosecution.
“Mary Zorh is the female defendant who is charged with statutory rape of a minor in the vicinity of the airfield allegedly using sex toys. She has been since indicted”.
“The remaining 4 of the 17, (Florence Garnoe, Mary Bealue, Hawa Saylaby, and Satta Morris) were arrested between July 2010, and October 2015,” the statement added.
According to the Solicitor General, in the case of the Mary Bealue, for example, who the story refer to as Ma Mary, she (Mary Bealue) is charged with gang rape and was arrested in May of 2013. The Ministry claimed that she conspired and allowed her boyfriend to have sexual intercourse with her niece in her presence.
“Mary Bealue lawyers entered a plea bargaining agreement with the State in which she and her boyfriend voluntarily pleaded guilty, and which agreement was executed in September of 2015, and is currently before the court for consideration/sentencing.”
“Satta Morris was arrested in October of 2015 on the charge of murder. She is indicted and is awaiting trial. She stabbed her boyfriend in the stomach which resulted to his death.
Hawa Saylaby was arrested in September of 2015 on the charge of criminal attempt to commit murder, which is a bailable offense. Her indictment has been drawn and witnesses have appeared before the grand jury in her case.
“Please do something to correct this. Please do not hesitate to revert to me should you require further clarification,” the release said.
On Thursday, FrontPage Africa reported an oral account of a prisoner who is among female inmates currently in jail at the Monrovia Central Prison (South Beach).
FPA also reported that three of the 20 inmates have been sentenced while 17 others are pre-trial detainees.
According to her, she has been at the Monrovia Central Prison for more than three years. She believes that her pre-trial detention is unfair and she blames the country’s Justice system for her incarceration at the Monrovia central Prison where high core criminals are kept as she is yet to be arraigned in court to answer to accusations of rape.
In her late 30’s says prior to her incarceration she made livelihood as a local marketer to support her family of more than five.
“I want to speak on the bad Justice system in this country. I am a market woman out there but because of the justice system I find myself in this Prison three years one month, my children are out there no one is taking care of them”, she told reporters.
No justice for poor
She says there is no justice for people like her who do not have money.
“Sometimes we say within ourselves I am going to make myself clear because I know I am not guilty but I am looking at Liberia now that there is no justice for the poor.
“I was accused of rape, can a woman rape this is a case for government to speedily try and know how this old lady committed gang rape.”
“I have not gone for trial I been in this prison, no rehabilitation although I am a prisoner whatever the charge is I need to learn,” she said.
According to the outspoken inmate, like her, there are many of her colleagues who have spent more than three years at the Monrovia Central Prison and have not gone for trial.
Wearing a traditional lapper, with a T-shirt carrying slogans of women solidarity, she said, speaking from experience there are challenges facing female inmates who are taken to prison.
She claimed that on many occasions women are taken to prison without under cloths after spending days in prison at the Central Police station which she described as dirty and nasty place without even having to shower.