The Government of Liberia's Continued Harassment of Liberians
(A Press Statement issued on July 24, 2002, By the Liberian Leadership Conference - LLC)
July 31, 2002
The Leadership of the Liberian Leadership Conference (LLC), a collectivity of Liberian political and civil opinion leaders, including representatives of civil organizations, which met recently in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, deplores and condemns the current crackdown on civil liberties by the Government of Liberia. The leadership has recently learned with disappointment and anger about the continuing saga of illegal searches on the homes of innocent and unsuspecting Liberians in violations of their civil and human rights. The LLC calls on the Government of our country to stop this despicable act of treachery.
As unequivocally stated in its resolutions from the Bethesda, USA meeting of June 28-29, 2002, the LLC additionally views the existing State of Emergency in Liberia as democratically untenable, and calls for its immediate lifting. The declaration of the State of Emergency in Liberia is globally viewed as a pretext to violate the rights and liberties of the Liberian people with impunity. The LLC therefore calls on the Government to put an end to its witch-hunting of innocent citizens under the guise of national security concerns. The LLC knows of these political manipulations only in autocratic regimes and countries.
The LLC is particularly concerned about the government’s illegal raiding of the homes of prominent astute political persons, including those of Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, Mr. Roosevelt Jayjay and others who including the relatives of the Kromahs, Slangars and Wessehs. The LLC learned that on Friday, July 19, 2002, just barely seven days before the Government’s much publicized Reconciliation Conference; a number of government paramilitary agents forcibly entered the homes of Dr. Tipoteh and Mr. Jayjay without any search warrant or any other legal justification. The agents vandalized the homes of these respectable and law-abiding citizens.
The LLC further learned that the homes of other Liberians whose only crimes were that they have a consanguineous relation with people whom the government perceives as their “enemies”. The Government has now established a new criminal actrelationship to one’s perceived enemy. The LLC further learned that on Wednesday, July 24, a security dragnet, under the cover of darkness took away some of these Liberians to an unknown destination. The LLC further understands that the number of such persons incarcerated in this classic exercise has now arisen to ten. The LLC wonders whether the Decision makers have the relevant control of the security in country. The LLC also notes a number of detainees have been kept in detention centers without any charges.
The LLC further observes the continued imprisonment of Journalist Hassan Bility along with two others in charges that have yet to be established.
This conduct of Government is a source of much chagrin and grave indignation and sharply contradicts governments much publicized declarations and overtures for a reconciliation meeting, and the preparedness of government to provide guarantees of security for opposition figures. It is paradoxical that the Government would be on the verge of commencing a national reconciliation conference supposedly to harmonize differences among Liberians, while at the same time opposition and innocent citizens continue to be nearly helpless victims of government’s maltreatment.
The Liberian Leadership Conference specifically calls on President Charles Taylor to reverse the deepening trend of insecurity and take actions that will provide hope for peace and national recovery.
Issued by Authority of the Coordinating Committee
Liberian Leadership Conference
Bethesda, Maryland, USA