Judge To Rule In Henry Costa Case Thursday…PUL Frowns On Gov’t For His Arrest

By Garmonyou Wilson

Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice yesterday postponed ruling into a writ of habeas corpus filed by lawyers representing a Talk Show host, Henry Costa to Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 2 P.M.

The postponement of the ruling by Criminal Court “C” Judge, Peter Gbeneweleh comes in the wake of investigations by a Joint Investigation comprising of the Liberia National Police, BIN and NSA over allegations that the popular radio host has information about the alleged deportation of Sam Fawaz, a Lebanese national.

According to the Montserrado County Attorney, Daku Mulbah, Costa was in hiding from security officials but on February 7, around 1 a.m., Costa and 34 other persons were picked up by LNP officers for violating curfew imposed by the effects of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

Subsequently, 33 of the persons that were detained by the LNP were released except Costa who was allegedly being sought for by police to answer questions regarding what he knew about Sam Fawaz and his (Fawaz’s) deportation.

Lawyers representing Costa who include Cllr. Dempster Brown, Arthur Johnson and Tiawon Gongloe in their writ of habeas corpus stated that the detention of Costa exceeded 48 hours.

However the State which is the Respondent in the case argued that Costa was to be brought to court yesterday if the Petitioner had not filed the writ of habeas corpus.

Following arguments, Judge Gbeneweleh said Mr. Costa will be in the custody of the Sherriff of the court until a ruling is delivered on Thursday.

Meanwhile the Press Union of Liberia, in a press release issued on Sunday, after the arrest of Costa,called on the government to walk up to its professed belief in a free press and open society by unconditionally releasing Mr. Henry Costa from further detention, and further harassment of the Voice FM Family and open the National Chronicle Newspaper.

“The PUL is rather disappointed that government will be abusing such basic and fundamental rights of innocent citizens, within days of President Sirleaf announcing a commitment to decriminalize speech offenses. This action is double standard and betrays the confidence of the Liberian people,” the PUL denounced.

The PUL said it is concerned that regardless of the offense that Mr. Costa might have committed, the government needs to engage him in accordance with the law and not through chicanery by using the curfew as a pretext to arrest anyone for another allegedly committed crime.