A group calling itself the Grand Gedeh County Council of Elders or GGCCE has announced that the county is backing off from this year’s co-hosting of the July 26, 2016 Independence Day celebrations as a form of protest for the continuous incarceration of some 13 Grand Gedians on mercenarisim charges.
The county is expected to co-host this year’s Independence Day celebration alongside Maryland and River Gee Counties, it has decided to back-off to press home the demand for the release of its kinsmen.
The 13 Grand Gedeans were sentenced to life imprisonment on June 18, 2014 for their involvement in cross-border raids into Ivory Coast that left seven U.N. peacekeepers dead. An appeal into the case was heard in March 2015, but since then the Superior Court is yet to hand down its verdict into the appeal filed by the defence counsel.
At a poorly attended press conference over the weekend, said the continuous incarceration of their kinsmen is part of troubling, and deadly events in addition to the socio- Economic, and political malaise in their country.
In a prepared text read on behalf of the group, it’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Peter G. Boduo said the county has nothing to celebrate about when its sons are behind bars, while some Ivoirians and Burkinabees-major supporters of jailed ex-president Charles Taylor during his rebel incursion, continue to invade their farm lands.
“For more than 3 years now,” he explains, “eighteen Grand Gedeans found at their various homes, farms, and other places of work were arrested by the Liberian state security for alleged mercenarism, and other alleged unlawful acts for which they were sent behind bars.
He said even at their trail there were manipulations amid twists and turns, charges and counter charges of jury tampering and bribery in return for guilty verdict for crimes which they did not commit.
He said what is more troubling to the GGCCE is that 5 of the 18 accused were acquitted on the same set of evidence they were all charged with.
Boduo said more than that even after their conviction and sentencing of the remaining 13, the case was taken to the supreme court on appeal and heard but for whatever reason, the court has yet to come up with a single verdict.
Boduo said the people of Grand Gedeh strongly consider and believe that the trial, which acquitted 5, and convicted 13 others both of whom were jointly charged and tried on the same set of evidenced by the state, was a political trial, that was intended to please the Government and people of La Cote d’voire in return for aiding, and abetting the New Patriotic Front of Liberia or NPFL of Charles Taylor in its illegal invasion and total destruction of Grand Gedeh and the country at large.
He said the trial of the 13 Grand Gedeans is reminiscent of the in which Taylor convicted 198 Grand Gedeans during his reign on treason charges.
By Lewis S. Teh-Edited by Othello B. Garblah