Liberia: LiMA Officials Charged with Joint Rape in South Korea
Handcuffed, Shackled and Moved to Unknown Detention Facility
Monrovia – Two Liberian Maritime Program officials recently arrested by the police in the South Korean City of Busan, have been formally charged with the crime of “two-person joint rape.”
The officials — Moses Owen Browne, Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in the UK — and Daniel Tarr, Director of the Department of Marine Environmental Protection at the LiMA, were arrested on the night of September 22, by Police in the South Korean City of Busan and detained.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, D. Maxwell Kemayan in a communication noted that the two officials, contrary to previous information have been to a different facility and not the Busan District Prosecutor’s Office which is about one hour drive from where they had been held previously.
The communication noted that no information was supplied as to the name nor location of the new facility to which they have been taken; and no notice yet, as to the date of trial.
However, he said the 40 First Secretary or Consul from the Mission, Ms. Alade, who was commissioned to go to Busan; met with both officials and authorities of the Busan Police; and after obtaining an understanding of the situation, has filed several observations.
Ms. Alade recounted that the sexual interaction between Mr. Browne and Mr. Tarr, and the two Korean ladies on the night of September 22, is not in dispute, since both accused have confirmed their interaction with women.
Nevertheless, their confirmation, Mr. Browne, according to Alade, continues to flinch on providing a substantive explanation to the Police, about the encounter they had with the two Korean ladies.
Rather, Browne is reportedly insisting that he has immunity under international Law, considering his status as an official of the Government of Liberia, with a valid diplomatic passport and a visa duly issued by the Government of the Republic of Korea.
“He is of the hope that the GOL will make the proper representation to the Government of the Republic of Korea,” She deciphered.
Alade further maintained that Mr. Tarr on the other hand, considering that he is not holding a Diplomatic Passport, but rather an Official Passport with a proper Visa issued by the Government of Korea, has responded to the Police interrogation.
“I was not privileged to know what he may have explained. As with Mr. Browne, Mr. Tarr is expecting that the GOL will make the proper representation to the Government of Korea which would lead to their release and return to Monrovia,” she claimed.
Despite these accounts, the 40 First Secretary or Consul from the Mission expressed displeasure over the two officials being manhandled by Korean Security,
in preparation for their transfer to the Busan District Prosecutor’s Office, even though they demonstrated no hostility.
She said: “It was not a pleasant scene for me. Mr. Browne and Mr. Tarr were stripped of their belongings including cell phones. In my presence, the police not only handcuff them but also shackled and tied them at their feet.
“I vehemently protested that it was wrong to have them tied as though they were slaves being taken to slave camps; and that such treatment was inhumane and unacceptable; especially considering that they were not resisting, nor hostile in any way.
After a shouting match, the police officers yielded to my argument with an apology and, except for the handcuff, untied them and removed the shackles.”
At the same time, she noted that during the preparation to take them away, Mr. Tarr managed to give her the amount of USD1,500.00 (one-thousand five hundred US Dollars) with a last-minute request to send the said amount to his wife.
Despite the inhumane treatment of the two officials by the Korean Police, during their transfer, Ms. Alade asserted that she did not meet any push-back from authorities of the Busan Police station where the two officials were held before their transfer.
Accordingly, the Liberian Maritime officials were willing to point out their expectations as to what, at this point, the Government of Liberia needs to do in this case, by supplying documentation affirming their diplomatic status.
Following her observation, Alade further emphasized the need for the government secure lawyers to begin legal defense of the accused officials.
For his part, Kemayan noted that while in South Korea, he similarly encountered a group of 11 Liberians living in Busan and nearby locations, led by their President, Mr. McCarthy, with the help of another Liberian by the name of Ms. Christiana Doe.
“They told me that, earlier in the day before I arrived, they went to the police station to condemn the alleged rape case against the two Liberian officials and the Korean ladies,” Kemayan noted in his communique.
These Liberians, according to him, presented several problems, including difficulties in passport renewal and other consular issues.
Nonetheless and as per his TOR provided, Kemayan assured them that the Mission is encouraging Liberian citizens residing in Japan and the concurrent jurisdiction countries, including the Republic of Korea, to use a citizen location from which the Mission has developed and is making available upon request.
Minister Kemayan is also bolstering calls for the provision of legal counsel for the two Liberian officials, considering the nature of the case, while Ms. Alade is scheduled to return to Tokyo on Wednesday, October 5.