By Morrison O.G. Sayon
Two tough Liberian lawyers have spoken strongly against the suspension of some of their colleagues by the Supreme Court of Liberia and what they call draconian laws in the country.
Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods, one time Public Works Minister in the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf led government and Cllr. Beyan Howard who was suspended for three months by the Supreme Court of Liberia for his role in the release of Frontpageafrica’s Publisher, Rodney Sieh have said they will not be crushed by the present administration for speaking against the many violations of human rights being carried out in the country.
Atty. Woods who on behalf of some lawyers paid what he described as solidarity visit at the home of his colleague, Cllr. Beyan Howard urged him (Howard) not to be deterred by the suspension or threats but remain strong as they are with him in the struggle against social injustices being meted against some Liberians.
Woods said there is now threat against those who are human rights advocates in the country and that the present leadership of Liberia has contempt for individuals like Cllr. Howard who are defending the rights of others.
Woods told Cllr. Howard, “Be strong, you will not be crushed, you will be respected and history will judge you right; we know who you are; this cause that you followed is a sense of gratitude which has been replaced with hate.”
“We support you, we share your value and conviction, you are not alone, we will always be with you; this is a journey and don’t forget that lots of this will follow,” Atty. Woods said. It was Cllr. Howard who volunteered to represent Mr. Sieh in the case between the FPA Publisher and former Agriculture Minister Dr. Chris Toe.
“Cllr. Howard demonstrated a strong conviction, a principle which has motivated most of his colleagues. He stands for principle. If one Liberian is excluded in the society, that will lead to confusion and that is what we are standing against,” Mr. Woods said.
“We will be condemned, criticized, but Liberians and the world will understand, good will triumph over evil and good must continue to confront evil; you have demonstrated to the world who you are and that our partnership will continue,” he stated.
Atty. Woods said it is now time to stand against the injustices that are again emerging in the country something that they are prepared to do. He then stressed the need to reform some of the draconian laws on the books and called on the Liberian Government to begin addressing the issue of human rights abuse and corruption in every sector of the Liberian society.
In response, Cllr. Howard lauded Atty. Woods and other concerned lawyers in the country and said that he is not deterred by his recent suspension by the high court in Liberia. “We are fighting a cause that includes corruption, abuse of human rights; if we allow evil-minded persons to have closed frontpageafrica we would’ve done injustices to the public and ourselves,” Cllr. Howard said.
He added that though some considered former President Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor’s regimes as brutal and that this present leadership is the perfect one, but people who are doing everything possible to speak against the abuse of human rights and the high level of corruption are being threatened, suspended and being humiliated by the power that be.
He said the fight for social justice and injustice in the country will only be completed if people are allowed to speak out against corruption and other vices in the Liberian society. “We did not run from Doe or Taylor. We were pleading cases while guns were shooting so no one should think that we are going to run from here or deter us,” Cllr. Howard said.
Cllr. Howard who said beside the law practised, he will continue to live a decent life in constructing his second large store and a three bedroom house in the Township of Caldwell. The Publisher of frontpageafrica, Sieh also visited Cllr. Howard.
Sieh praised the lawyer for his stance to promote the rights of others saying that he has been motivated by Cllr. Howard to expose those vices in public and private places. Mr. Sieh said he will not he deterred by anyone to silence him but will continue to expose corruption.