Grand Gedeh Association Calls on President Taylor to Release all Political Prisoners

Chicago, Illinois

The Perspective

August 6, 2001

On Friday, July 20, 2001, President Charles Taylor released from detention Mr. Bai Gbala, Counselor David Gbala and Senator James Chelley. The three were among thirteen Krahn civilians and several military men who were imprisoned by the Liberian Government following the 1998 Camp Johnson Road incident, during which more than 300 Krahn men, women and children were massacred. The following week, Mr. Taylor announced that he had dropped all charges against his political opponents in exile.

The Grand Gedeh Association in the Americas welcomes the release of Mr. Gbala and others, and the dropping of all charges against President Taylor's exiled political opponents as good news for the people of Grand Gedeh County in particular, and Liberia in general. This is a positive step in the right direction.

The release of the three prominent citizens of Grand Gedeh County, and the other action taken by President Taylor recently have the potential to create an environment conducive for reconciliation and healing of the deep wounds inflicted by the civil war. We are, however, calling on Mr. Taylor to complete the process by releasing the other ten Grand Gedeans who were imprisoned along with Mr. Gbala, several military personnel from Grand Gedeh County and all other Liberians who are being held in detention for alleged treason.

It is obvious that our country will make no serious progress towards reconstruction and economic recovery as long as the Liberian people continue to be bitterly divided and the wounds of the civil war continue to fester unattended. There have been several opportunities in the past to bring the country together and build the foundation for economic recovery. Unfortunately, the Liberian Government has not taken advantage of these opportunities. We are calling on the Government not to let the opportunity for genuine reconciliation and lasting peace presented by the release of Mr. Gbala and others slip away this time. What is needed now is to comprehensively deal with all the other obstacles that stand in the way of a serious dialogue. These include releasing the remaining Grand Gedeans, both civilians and military personnel, all other Liberians charged with treason, and restructuring the security forces. We realize that this would require enormous courage, but doing the right thing is a manifestation of strength, not weakness.

The wounds of the civil war are deep and much time has been wasted to attend to these wounds. The Grand Gedeh Association in the Americas remains committed to doing its part to help bring about healing and bridging the many divides that now separate the people of Liberia.

Signed: Jackson N. Wonde
National Secretary

Approved: William G. Nyanue
National President

Click the links before for related articles:
Taylor Grants "Clemency" to Three Krahn Prisoners
An Eyewitness Account of the September 18 Massacre
The Liberian Democratic Future Condemns the Massacre of over 300 Innocent Liberians
The Conspiracy of Silence and Inaction
Truth and Treason