Human Rights Group Calls for the Immediate Release Aloysius Toe and Other Prisoners
(Statement by National Civil Rights Movement)
December 24, 2002
After more than five months of paying deaf ears to the unceasing calls of Liberians and friends of Liberia to release Journalist Hassan Bility and others, the Liberian government finally saw reason to let him go with the condition that he goes into exile. We believe that releasing Hassan was the right step in the right direction but forcing him into exile is wrong. While we may applaud the government for finally listening to the calls, especially that of the American government through its Ambassador in Monrovia, we will like to remind the government that the other prisoners, including Aloysius Toe deserve their freedom as well and as such we demand that they be released with no further delay.
When the government orchestrated a scheme which saw some Moslem group headed by his Chief of Protocol, Moussa Cisse appealing to him on behalf of the detainees, as a result of which the president promised to release the detainees in 72 hours, we all hoped that the government had finally seen the light. However, within the same period we saw more clam-down on citizens who decided to exercise their rights guaranteed by the constitution. Those arrested included Aloysius Toe, who is now charged with treason as was Hassan Bility and others. As we have already been doing, it is still our moral obligation to keep pressing until there is freedom for Aloysius Toe and all those others still in detention. We want the government to know that we are not going to be put to inaction because it has released Hassan Bility, who happened to be the high profile person among the detainees. While we are happy that Hassan Bility is now free, we are also unhappy that the government is still illegally holding others against their will.
In this light, we are calling on all freedom loving people who have stood up for freedom and justice in these crucial times to keep on with the campaign until we see freedom for all the detainees languishing in the filthy prisons of Charles Taylor. We have to keep doing whatever we are doing until we see our nation free of constant harassment, intimidation, and detention without the due process.
The followings are the names of some of those still in detentions:
1. Aloysius Toe
2. Mohammed Kamara
3. Ansumana Kamara
4. Mohammed Sheriff
5. Salia Kamara
6. Verbulay Jallah
7. Abraham Sando
8. Vayabatee Konneh
9. Abu Konneh - Student, University of Liberia
10. Sheikh K.M. Sackor, Executive Director Humanist Watch - Liberia
11. Alhaji Amara Kromah
12. Morris Kromah
13. Prince Uzoma
14. Junior B. Gidding
15. Abubakar Seelike Kamara
16. Mabutu Kromah
17. Mohammed V. Dukuly
18. Abraham Sando
What we are hearing now from the government is that "Those arrested with Bility in Monrovia are available to be air lifted by the Americans if they so desire," Minister Goodridge is quoted as saying. What the government is saying is that if the Americans cannot take them then the detainees will remain in jail indefinitely. For a government to grab the citizens it is under the oath to protect and throw them in jails and then call on another country to take them is not only unconstitutional but also criminal.
Given the hardship this government has subjected the population to, most of the "free" people will jump at any opportunity to leave the country anyway. Nothing is wrong with that, as long the people will be free to make that choice. What is wrong is to see the government forcing its citizens into forced exile. This is wrong and we as members of the National Civil Rights Movement are adding our voices to those of others to condemn this new pattern of government's violation of citizens' rights to live freely and peacefully in their own country.
Nvasekie N. Konneh
NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT