Liberia: Civil Society Council Calls on Nimba Judges to Remand Bailed Rape Suspects
MONROVIA – The National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) has called for re-arrest and prosecution of two rape suspects recently released in Nimba County.
Wilfred P. Mendein, 31, of Ganta and Saye Mezey, 34, a Guinean traditional herbalist of Saclepea City, were reported to have been released on bail by two judges at the county’s Eighth Judicial Circuit Court in Sanniquellie City.
Judges Roland Dahn and Hector W. Guoigoah released Mendein and Mezey, who were both charged by police for statutory rape and sent to the Sanniquellie Central Prison ahead of the prosecution, which was reported by FrontPage Africa.
“NCSCL is particularly appalled by the reported release of these suspects and is calling on Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor to investigate circumstances leading to the release of the suspects,” the largest conglomerate of civil society group said in a news release over the weekend.
“The Council believes that the manner and form in which Judges Dahn and Guoigoah released the two statutory rape suspects is questionable and needs to be looked into,” it added.
Statutory rape is first-degree felony, with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, is not bailable offense.
The judges conceded they erred by releasing the suspects but the group said their actions did not show they regret their decision.
It claimed that the court was reluctant to provide detailed information that led to the release of the two alleged perpetrators despite a number of follow-ups by Nimba-based civil society organizations. NCSCL is working with are working other groups under Spotlight Initiative that seeks to end all forms of violence against women and children.
“We do not see such actions on the part of the two judges as a mistake that should be dragged beneath the carpet, especially when the Guinean traditionalist is said to have several wives, many—if not all—of whom are reported to be minors,” the group said.