The Unlawful Arrest and Detention of Hassan Bility and Others
(Press Statement issued by the National Civil Rights Movement)
Posted July 17, 2002
The NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHT MOVEMENT is watching the unfolding developments in Liberia with total shock and disbelieves, especially the recent unlawful arrest and continuous detention of journalist Hassan Bility, Ansumana Kamara and Mohammed Kamara. Bringing false charges against these men to justify their unlawful detention is further evidence that the Liberian government, under Mr. Taylor, has no respect for the constitutional rights of Liberian citizens inside and outside of Liberia. After so many years with so much innocent blood on its hand, the Liberian government is unremorsefully determined to add more to its list of those it has already eliminated.
As a result of these alarming developments, we are adding our voice to those of the national and international organizations and individuals in condemning the unlawful detention of Hassan Bility, the Editor of the independent Analyst Newspaper and others. We believe that the government of Liberia, having lost its sense of direction, will go to any length to arrest, and detain law abiding citizens whose only crime is to exercise their rights guaranteed by the constitution. This is why the government has stood so low with no shame to call civilians arrested on the streets of Monrovia with no weapons as "terrorists and unlawful combatants."
Unconfirmed but credible report says that few lawyers who have not yet succumbed to the government intimidation are willing to represent the detainees. The lawyers are considering going to the military courts with the case because that's the only option left since the regular judiciary system is being ignored by the government. This is a sad day for justice in Liberia.
In its recent statement on this issue, Amnesty International expressed fear that Mr. Bility and the other detainees might have been tortured to death. Given the track records of this government, coupled with the fact that it has ignored the court's mandate that the living bodies of these men be produced in court, we are seriously concerned about the safety and well being of the detainees.
We are also concerned about the continuous government harassment of the
members of the Krahn and Mandingo ethnic groups. We are concerned that the agenda of ethnic cleansing Mr. Taylor introduced in 1990 is still being pursued today. We seriously believe that Mr. Taylor and company talk of "peace and reconciliation" only as a propaganda to continue their oppression and suppression of the people.
We have also learnt that Mr. Suku Wesseh, the brother of the veteran progressive activist, Conmany Wesseh, was arrested and detained at the NBI headquarters. The government says he has been released but according to family sources, Mr. Wesseh has not been seen since he was arrested. This is a very disturbing situation in our country. We seriously condemn this wave of arrest and illegal detention of citizens by this oppressive regime, which has failed to address the real concerns of the Liberian people. We call on all the civil and religious groups to join us in calling on the government to send the detainees to court so the due process can take its course or release them immediately. Mr. Taylor must know that whatever he's sowing today, he shall reap some days to come.
Nvasekie N. Konneh
NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHT MOVEMENT
222 Wildwood Ave
East Lansdowne Pa 19050
Tel: 610 394 3078