Media Groups Demand Probe Over Deportation

Two media groups, The Liberia Media Watch (LMW) and The National Publishers and Broadcasters Association of Liberia (NAPBAL), are calling on the Ministry of Justice to speedily launch an investigation into the overnight illegal deportation of a Liberian-Lebanese Sam Fawaz by the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, with the involvement of the manager of a local radio station.

The Chairman of NAPBAL, J. Rufus Paul and the Secretary General of the LMW, Charles B. Yates, in a joint press release issued over the weekend, indicated that circumstances surrounding the midnight deportation of the 27-year old Liberian national by birth to Lebanon by the BIN and the station manager’s involvement speak to volumes of uncertainty and needs immediate investigation by the Justice Ministry.

According to the release, an email communication was sent to the two media groups by Sam Fawaz from Lebanon dated Monday, June 30, 2014, in which the young Fawaz alleged that the Commissioner of BIN, Lemuel Reeves and Henry Costa of Voice FM orchestrated his illegal deportation after they allegedly received bribe from his uncle, Sam    ShawkiFawaz Sr. of SSF Construction Company.

The young Sam Fawaz said his uncle ShawkiFawaz of SSF’s intention was to deny him (Sam Fawaz) his legitimate share of the company. He said the company (SSF) was registered in his name because his uncle wanted the company to be a Liberian-owned. Sam said he is a Liberian by birth, because his mother is a Liberian and his father who is now deceased was a Lebanese and the senior brother to ShawkiFawaz.

Sam said his Uncle ShawkiFawaz robbed him of carrying his biological father name when he was a child. “My uncle got me a Liberian passport when i was under aged following the death of my father. He gave me his full names, making me to be his son and his junior boy. My biological name was changed, i did not carry my dad name, I was compared to carry ShawkiFawaz full name because he wanted to benefit from my God’s given birth rights as a Liberian”.

Sam said after he reached the age of maturity he decided to engage his uncle on the matter and demanded that he be given his share of the company but his uncle refused and threaten to use his money and contact in Liberia to deport him. “My uncle Shawki and his media agent costa arrange for my allegation deportation, they bribe the immigration commissioner, my poor Liberian mother and deported me mid night on Air Morac. The BIN officers used weapon to threaten me while they were taking me to the airport.” he claimed.

Sam alleged that the BIN officers handcuffed him and took all his money away while en route to the airport. When i got to the airport in Lebanon and they have written a paper in Arabic that i was deported from Liberia. i am scare of my safety here , i feel they could jail me at any time for whatever reason that my uncle could make up to keep me away from Liberia and SSF”, he lamented.

The media group said with these starting revelations coming from Lebanon, the MOJ should not take this matter lightly because it has to do with human trafficking and illegal deportation. “We want the government of Liberia to investigate this matter and bring the perpetuators to book”.