Nimba “Rioters” Taken To Court

By Edwin G. Wandah

About 41 Liberians who were arrested on the 3rd, 4th, and 6th of July in Zolowee and parts adjacent in Nimba are said to be under investigation at the Nimba County Magisterial Court in Sanniquille, the capital of Nimba County.

According to a writ of arrest issued shortly at the Civil Law Court in Monrovia yesterday, the 41 Nimbaians were arrested in connection with the recent chaos that occurred in Arcelor Mittal Concession areas in Zolowee and Gbaarpar in Nimba County by the Liberian National Police and were later transferred to Monrovia, where they were kept behind bars at the Monrovia Central Prison in South Beach.

Meanwhile, during yesterday’s hearing at the Civil Law Court in Monrovia, 41 Nimbaians, including youths, elders and women of Zolowee Nimba and its surrounding in Nimba appeared in court without formally being charged by the Government of Liberia.

In the opening of the court, Respondent in several counts said, there were several persons arrested in Nimba in connection with the recent violent demonstration that went on in Nimba County.

Respondent in a cause of action said that as to counts 1 thru 3 of the Petitioner’s Petition, Respondent Petitioners are not law abiding as they intend to portray themselves as no law abiding citizen would result to the use of arms, fire and other deadly weapons against others and their properties for the redress of whatever differences that may exist.

Respondent stated further that as of count 2 of Petitioner’s Petition, Respondent said Petitioners’ arrest was based on the fact that they attacked armless citizens and officers of the Liberia National Police the LNP with single barrel guns and other deadly weapons.

They also alleged that Petitioner set ablaze the properties of Arcelor Mittal, including several mining equipment, locomotive train, and made away with several valuable items and thereafter fled to several hideouts, including their homes where they were arrested by officers of the Liberia National Police to undergo investigation in keeping with law.

Meanwhile, count 3 of Petitioners, Respondent said that the reason for Petitioners not to be forwarded to court within statutory time is on account of themselves, their supporters including family members and friends who repeatedly interrupted Police investigations by attacking Police Depots where Petitioners were taken which acts on their part prevented the investigation from taking place, thus compelling the Police to take Petitioners from Nimba County and bring them to Monrovia where the Police was able to commence the conduct of the investigation.

But defense council argued that the illegal detention of the detainees was embarrassing and that it was against the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia to have people kept against their right for more than 48 hours.

Defense also argued that the Government brought 41 of the total number of persons they claimed were in the custody of the Police. According to the defense, the honorable court prayed to prevail on the prosecution to produce the living bodies of the remaining five people live in court.

When asked, prosecution told open court that the 41 persons that were brought to court were those under the custody of the Liberia National Police and were currently in detention at the Monrovia Central Prison in Monrovia.

Prosecution also argued that those at large, in Nimba County cannot be brought to Monrovia because prosecution believes, the Civil Law Court does not have jurisdiction over the court in Nimba.

Meanwhile, the court dismissed the case on the basis of their rights being abused by the Government. According to the court, under the law of the Republic of Liberia, anyone arrested should not be kept for more than 48 hours.

The detainees, when released, were rearrested and served a writ of arrest by the Magisterial Court in Sanniquille Nimba County. Those charged are, Yei Brown, Say Jebole, YeiDuokie, Sammuel Garter, Junior Moses, Wilson Gono, OlanoKarto, Prince Lah, Oretha Gono and William Gbanah.

Others are Prince Zeaduah, Emmanuel Togbay, Emmanuel Zuweh, Abraham Zuweh, Robert Flomo, Peter Zuweh, John Quoi, Emmanuel Mantor, Josephus Duokie and Jerome Sua. Others are Prince Zoblah, Pay Nebo, Abraham Zeilee, Leroy Dolo, Benjamin Wantoe, John Tuodah, and Patrick Woaker.

Aberto Nahgoah, Jerome Zuweh, Saye Musa, Sam G. Kruah, Daniel Richard, Terrel Dolo, Nelson Korquoi, Daniel Kortee, Anthony Weegon, Joseph Brown, Saye Tee Zuweh, Jeff G. Fongan, Korkar Saye Kortoe, Moses Gono, John Quoizei and Joseph Bangura.

Others are Peter S. Zuweh, Paul Gantu, Lawrence Everett, Lawrence T. Gewh, HarrissonNewah, Ernest Gbokie,     Abel Nyanamah, YeaiYei, Sylvester Moore, Joseph Suah, George Dolo, Lucia Bentor, Prince Zelebeh and Eric Bentor.

Finally on those arrested, Bentor, Patrick Korgar, Jerome Zuweh, Darious S Tokpah and John Korto concludes the list of the arrestees.

The Prosecution team was headed by Liberia’s Solicitors General Betty Larmie Blamo, Montserrado County Public Defender, Cllr. Daku Mulba, Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould amongst others, while the Defense Council was led by Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe, Cllr. Dempster Brown, Cllr. Yannie Gbaesay and others.

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