Family Members Call for the Release of Counselor Tiawan Gongloe

(Press Release issued on April 25)

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted April 26, 2002

We the Gongloe family view with disdain the barbaric and arbitrary arrest, detention and torture of our brother human rights lawyer Tiawan Gongloe.

Tiawan was arrested yesterday at 5 pm Liberian time by a group of heavily armed men of the special operation division of the Liberia national police.

Counselor Tiawan Gongloe is a human rights lawyer, rendering selfless and free legal services to countless number of defenseless citizens whose constitutional and civic rights continue to be violated by state security without any regard to the judicial system.

Sources inform us that police officers disguised as detainees were placed in the same cell with Tiawan for the sole purpose of torturing him at night on orders of police director, Paul Mulbah. As a result, he was inhumanely tortured last night while behind iron clad bars. The latest information is that the police have taken him to an unknown health center due to life threatening injuries resulting from last night torture.

At the time of this release, government has given no pronounced reason (s) for the arrest and crude torture of counselor Gongloe.

However, we are informed that the human rights lawyer was questioned on account of a speech he recently delivered in neighboring guinea at a M ano River Union’s leadership conference. A full text of the speech was published in all local dailies and is on the web at various Liberian sites.

No word of his arrest is yet in the media as all media houses have been threatened with closure if they report the event.

We consider this primitive act an affront to the Gongloe family and the already crumbling judicial system. We are indeed perturbed that at a time when Mr. Taylor and his government should be striving toward image building , they have liberally chosen a route that will darken the already dark political climate looming over the country.

Henceforth, we call for an all-out unequivocal condemnation of this latest barbaric act by the Taylor-led government.

Let it be known in all circles that we seek justice and not vengeance, legal rights and not selective privilege.

We call on Taylor and appeal to his conscience to ensure the safety and immediate release of this guiltless human rights activist without any further delay.

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