Court Frees 18 Persons

By Edwin G. Wandah

Eighteen of the 41 Liberians, who were arrested in Zolowee Nimba County with lesser crimes, were yesterday set free.

The 41 Liberians were arrested on July 3rd, 4th, and 6thin connection with the recent riot that occurred in Nimba County leading to the looting of Arcelor Mittal’s facilities in Nimba County allegedly by some citizens of the surrounding towns and villages.

But it appeared that not all of the Liberians had greater crimes, as some of them were indicted for armed robbery, which is non-baillable under the laws of the Republic of Liberia.

However, Civil Law Court immediately set the 41 persons free for what the court believes the men were arrested and kept beyond the 48 hours limits, something, defense lawyers claimed was detrimental to their clients, but the men were later re-arrested after the Sanniquille Magisterial Court issued a writ of arrest against them.

Recently, lawyers representing the defendants told this Paper that their clients, the 41 Liberians were incarcerated at South Beach, Monrovia Central Prison without according them due process of law. Human Lawyer Cllr. Dempster Brown and former Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe said that their clients were not accorded due process of law, and that the continuous imprisonment of their clients without being tried was against their Miranda rights.

Also, according to a writ of arrest that was issued the defendants shortly after they were released, they were instead taken to the Monrovia Central Prison, where they have been serving prison sentence until their release yesterday.

“We are very happy to be set free; the people said we were loitering so they freed us,” one of them stated. “For me, I was not part of the riot, I was sitting home when the entire episode occurred; those guys came and arrested me for nothing, but I thank God that I am freed today,” another of the 41 Liberians stated.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Liberians still in custody are expected to be taken to Sanniquille Nimba County to stand trial for the crimes for which they were arrested, but for those arrested for armed robbery, if found guilty, will serve life imprisonment.