Government Offers Bribe?
In Morias’ Gboyo Case: US$ 10, 000 Offer Exposed
M. Welemongai Ciapha, II firstname.lastname@example.org
After parading several witnesses in the Maryland County murder trial involving H. Dan Morias and nine others, some family members of one of the defendants, Mle Merriam has written the Executive Director of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) that their son has been detained at the various police depots so as to lie on the accused.
The letter under the signatures of Grace Y. Merriam, aunty of the alleged detainee and Michael Merriam, was dated Monday, April 4, 2011 and addressed to Cllr. Augustine Toe, one of the lawyers representing the 10 accused.
The family members of defendant Merriam told Cllr. Toe in their letter that their relative was arrested in the Ivory Coast on March 19, and taken to Monrovia on March 28, 2011.
“Since the arrival of our brother we have been checking for him at the Monrovia Central Prison Compound and other nearby police station in order to see him. On Tuesday, March 29, Mle was seen at Slip Way Police Depot, and on April 1, we went all around Monrovia, including the Slip Way Police Depot, or any other depots that we visited to search for Mle, but to our surprise, we did not,” the letter stated.
The family members also alleged in the letter that on April 2, Mle was seen in handcuff at the Zone One police depot, located on Bushrod Island, without clothes and later told them that the police has been taking him from one depot to another, including Slip Way, Airfield and Congo Town police depot, referred as Zone Three.
“Mle further told us that since his arrest, all has been told by Samuel Jacobs, the government lawyer is to implicate those that are currently on trial for the murder case of Tumu Yuade Allison,” the letter alleged.
The letter, a copy of which was filed with the court along with a petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus for the government to produce the living body of Mle, confirmed that because of his refusal to lie, he has been allegedly tortured, deprived of food and slept naked on the alleged order of Cllr. Samuel Jacobs, a state prosecutor.
According to the letter, Mle accused Cllr. Jacobs of promising US$ 10, 000 if he serves as one of the state witnesses in the case. This, he said happened on March 28, 2011.
Lawyers for the defendants on Monday filed a petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus on the Government of Liberia, (GOL), stating that petitioner was arrested by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) in Maryland County and transported to Monrovia on March 25, 2011.
Petitioner submitted that his liberty has been restrained by the authorities of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), without any court order and argued that (he) petitioner has been detained beyond the statutory period of 48 hours without having his day before a court of competent jurisdiction to prove his innocent.
One of counsels for the petitioner also observed that since the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) monitors the police depots in the country, he has been transferred from depots to depots and from cells to cells.
The defense emphatically maintained the action of the prosecution is in violation of the judge’s earlier ruling, warning the state to refrain from all contacts with the defendants.
Counsels insisted that the Respondent/State have showed no reason why the petitioner’s liberty should be restrained up to the filing of the petition.
The lawyers noted that his client has been illegally, unnecessarily and restrained unjustifiably by the government.
This is the second time for the defense to file a complaint against the state prosecutors for allegedly interfering with the defendants.
Last month, defense accused the prosecution of handcuffing and taking two of the defendants from the Monrovia Central Prison Compound to an unknown destination for several hours.