ACFLi Issues Statement on the Arrest and Detention of Tiawon Gongloe
May 1, 2002
As President of one of the most prestigious Liberian organizations fully functioning in the United States (the Association of Citizens and Friends of Liberia-ACFLi), and former President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), I write to strongly condemn the arbitrary arrest, detention and inhumane beating of human rights lawyer, Tiawon Gongloe.
The unlawful detention and beating of Cllr. Gongloe by the current Liberian government is again another depiction of the ugly picture of the administration of President Charles Taylor. No sound government in its right mind will continue to do what this government is doing-arbitrarily arresting citizens and detaining them without trial, closing down news organizations because they are not publishing what they [the government] want them to publish and silencing people because they are not preaching what the government wants to hear. This is complete tyranny.
A lot of Liberians who live abroad and want to return to Liberia will change their course of action if this government continues to wickedly clamp down on the people it claims to govern. The very few who have braved the storm and decided to remain in Liberia and try to make things go right in the country are being arrested, detained and flogged. Some time ago Dr. Amos Sawyer and Mr. Comany Wesseh were flogged. Several other people have been arrested for reasons best known to the government herself. Now it is Tiawon Gongloe. So if I return to Liberia and try to live an independent life by promoting freedom and justice and not siding with the government when it goes wrong, I will be arrested, detained and flogged too? We need an answer to this question. I mean one can be patriotic to the people of Liberia, but not the administration. Everybody doesn't have to go with the wind.
We are calling on every Liberian in Liberia and every part of the world, the United States Government, the European Union and the United Nations to condemn this barbaric act of the Liberian government. The Liberian government should be called upon to fully respect the rights of its citizens and put democracy into practice, and not junglecracy or rebelcracy. For if not, many educated and well-mannered Liberians will continue to perish under the current Liberian government.
J. Siaka Konneh