Liberia Alert: Human Rights Defender Charged with Treason
Press Release Issued by Media Foundation for West Africa
November 6, 2002
Aloysius Toe, Secretary General of the Liberia Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (LCHRD) has been charged with treason by the government of Liberia. A Monrovia Magistrate Court, on Monday November 4, 2002, charged Toe after he turned himself over to the government in the company of his lawyer and a Priest. Under Liberian law, treason is punishable by death or life imprisonment and an individual charged with treason cannot be granted bail.
The government declared Toe ‘wanted’ after security forces raided his home in his absence and claimed they found documents linking the human rights activist to LURD rebels fighting in the north of the country. Toe’s wife, Vivian, was also arrested but later released.
The government began a clampdown on the leadership of the LCHRD a week ago for organizing a peaceful march in solidarity with journalist Hassan Bility and Sheikh Sackor, Executive Director of the Humanist Watch, a fundamental rights advocacy organization and all those detained [without trial] in connection with their alleged links with the LURD rebels.
During the clampdown, police arrested and detained Attorney Dempster Browne, chairman of LCHRD and Blamoh Sieh, a leading member of the National Human Rights Center.
The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is deeply concerned about the wave of arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights defenders and journalists in Liberia. The MFWA believes the government’s action endangers free expression and undermines democracy.
We, therefore, request you to protest against the deteriorating state of human rights in Liberia. Send your protest to:
H. E. Charles Taylor
Republic of Liberia
Tel: 231 226360
Fax: 231 226789
Counsellor L. Koboi Johnson
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Ashmun St. P. O Box 9006
Monrovia, Republic of Liberia
Tel. 00 231 22 78 72
Or to any Liberian Embassy close to where you live.