Liberia: Prosecution Accepts 45 Year Jail Sentence in Sinoe County “Witchcraft’ Case

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Monrovia – Prosecution lawyers’ objection to a 25-year jail sentence decided by the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court in Grand Bassa County for seven convicted Defendants has been withdrawn.

The withdrawal came after presiding Judge Joe Barcon reversed his earlier decision, increasing the sentence from 25 to 45 years for each of the seven Defendants, who were found guilty on August 30, 2019 after a unanimous guilty verdict by the jury.

Lead prosecution lawyer, Assistant Justice Minister for Litigation Cllr. Wesseh Alphonso Wesseh, had filed a motion to correct the judgment.

“The crimes committed requires death by hanging or life imprisonment; we don’t want death by hanging but life imprisonment as requires under the law,” argued Cllr. Wesseh.

On Monday, September 23, Wesseh back tracked, telling FrontPage Africa that the prosecution will not object to the 45 years sentence although he was opting for life sentence for the defendants.

“We have accepted it because most of the Defendants are between 40 and 45 years in age. By the time the 45 years expired they will be 80 or 90 years and will be useless in society,” said Wesseh, who added that justice has been done.

The seven defendants are Moses Solo, Ellis Karpeh, Sylvester Chardy, Swen Kelgbeh, Teah Gmanwolou, Victor Solo and Pyne Nyene.

They were indicted for gang rape, aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy and facilitation.

The Defendants were among 10 persons arrested by state security and indicted in Greenville, Sinoe County back in 2018 for brutality conducting trial by ordeal of three ladies in Johnny Town, Normorpoe District, Sinoe County on December 12, 2018.

The three women, who were accused of being witchcrafts, were stripped naked and paraded publicly in the town and then taken to the traditional town (society bush) where they were allegedly tortured and sexually abused. One of the ladies later died from her wounds.

The case was expected to have been heard in Greenville but state prosecutors requested for a change of venue based on what they termed as due to local prejudice.

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