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EPS arrests, flogs war crimes campaigner

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Presidential security forces have arrested and flogged the lead campaigner for the establishment of War and EconomicCrimes Court for Liberia, Emmanuel Savice.
Officersof the elite Executive Protection Service (EPS) carried on the brutality while Emmanuel was leading protesters before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, th temporary office of President George Manneh Weah.

Mr. Savice, led protesters here Tuesday, 3 March under the banner Liberians Unitedfor Justice and Accountability on the ground of the Capitol where they petitioned the Liberian Legislature for the establishment of the War andEconomic Crimes court, and subsequently proceeded to the Ministry of ForeignAffairs, which also is the temporary office of President George Manneh Weah but was arrested and flogged by EPS officers and later turned over to theLiberia National Police.

This is the third time the Liberians United for Justice andAccountability is hosting a peaceful march to raise awareness for such court in Liberia to dispense justice enda culture of impunity in the country.

Mr. Savice presented his petition to the National Legislaturepeacefully and they left but upon getting to the Foreign Ministry they were stopped by officers ofthe EPA, who instructed the protestors to cross the road; it was when some members of the EPSstarted flogging him, knocking him to the ground before dragging him into thecompound of the Foreign ministry.

Earlier at the Legislature, he said the House of Representatives has done nothing about the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes court, so they (protesters)were here to wage a campaign that would bring perpetrators of heinous crimes during the Liberian Civil War to justice.

Emmanuel warned if the Legislature didn’t do anything about the establishment
of the war and economic crimes court, Liberia risks returning to violence.

EPS officers confiscated reporters’ cameras, mobile phones andother gadgets while they were photographing scene of the confrontation.

Among the protesters was the notorious ex-rebel General-turned evangelist, Joshua Milton Blayee commonly known as ‘Butt Naken.’Blayeesaid he did not testify before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2008in anticipation of being accorded amnesty, but did so because of his conviction that no sin goes unpunished.

According Evangelist Blayee, he only the truth can set a person free, and so based on his faith as aChristian, truth is the only way forward.

He narrated that over the years, he has watched violence grow in this nation and
he is suspecting that violence will continue to grow due to the culture
of impunity being embraced by Liberians.

The ex-fighter, who is widely known to have allegedly fought on the battlefield completely naked, as a demonstration of magic charm, added that the only way Liberians would enjoy true freedom iswhen they embrace justice.

He said he sees the establishment of thewar and crimes court as a way to ending violence, and he and his organizationsupport justice for the country.Receiving the petition on behalf of the House of Representatives,Deputy Speaker Prince K. Moye said the document is a blunt reminder to members of the legislature.

He said they already have more than 50 signatures of lawmakers, including himself supportive of the call for the court, so the petition was just a reminder to put the issue back on the agenda for appropriate action.By Bridgett Milton

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