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Liberia: Court jails ANC man over Facebook post

By Lincoln G Peters 

Opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) stalwart Jethro S. K. Harris has been jailed at the Monrovia Central Prison or South Beach after the Monrovia City Court failed to grant him bail following multiple police charges against the accused his Facebook post expressing concerns against recent waves of reported ritualistic killings here.

The Liberia National Police (LNP) has charged Harris for allegedly raising “false public alarms” and making “false statements” through his Facebook post alleging ritualistic killings across the country.

ANC standard-bearer and main opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) constituent member Mr. Alexander B. Cummings was present at the court Monday and accused the police of allegedly politicizing the entire issues involving his partisan defendant Harris.

On 27 September 2021, a Facebook post was attributed to Mr. Harris in which he is reported to have informed his social media friends that there were mysterious deaths occurring in Liberia with young people being the victims.

Defendant Harris is said to have attached to his post, photos of the late Roslisa N. Gbeintor as one of the young persons who had been murdered in Liberia with her body parts extracted.

A police charge sheet release on Monrovia Monday, 4 October said as a result of the opposition ANC stalwart defendant Harris’ unfounded post, fear has gripped residents and citizens, accusing him of showing that the country is unsafe for business.

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The police contend that Harris’ post is baseless and false, adding that it is only likely to cause public inconvenience or alarm.

“That Roslisa N. Gbeintor whose photos were attached to defendant Jethro S. Harris’ post died as a result of protracted illness instead of mysterious death as claimed by defendants Jethro S. Harris,” the police claimed. 

The LNP insisted that its investigation shows that defendant Harris willingly, purposely, and intentionally did the Facebook post to buttress falsehood already being circulated by some persons to be identified, that the country is unsafe.

The police maintained that Article 15 (A) of the 1986 Constitution provides that every person shall have the right to freedom of expression, but they are fully responsible for the abuse and action thereof.

According to the LNP, Harris’ actions are in violation of Chapter 17, Section 17.4 of the Revised Penal Law of Liberia and pending court trial.

But in an interview with judicial reporters, ANC standard bearer Alexander B. Cummings described the arrest of his party official Harris as being politicized.

According to Mr. Cummings, the LNP sent a pickup filled with police to arrest Harris for exercising his right to freedom of speech.

“This man was held in jail without charges. If he is found guilty of the crime he could be fined. But now they have politicized the entire issue,” said Mr. Cummings.

“This is how we are politicizing the judicial system. This is how the rule of law has been continuously disrespected. With these things, let us not wonder why we are not getting investors to come to our country,” Cummings lamented.

The former CPP chairman further stressed the need to separate politics from the judicial system, saying he believes it will allow the court to independently function, and the law which gives judges the freedom to interpret will be upheld.

“We will follow the law and follow the rules. We have presented the bond to see what the judges say and if they don’t do the right things, we will move to the highest court,” Cummings added.

According to him, they have been trying to handle the matter quietly because it’s not good for the country and politics, saying punishing this young man by making an example of nothing is wrong.

The ANC Political leader noted that it’s saddening that they have presented a bond to the court for their party official to be released, and yet he has been taken to South Beach for a bailable offense.

He, however, urged the Government of Liberia to have respect for the rule of law.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/anc-condemns-arrest-of-its-partisan-jethro-k-s-harris/

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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