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Crime & PunishmentGeneralLiberia news

Liberian women demand justice

--Converge at Legislature over Charloe Musu's murder

By Ethel A. Tweh

Scores of protesting Liberian women gathered at the Legislature Thursday, 2 March 2023, and petitioned lawmakers to ensure that justice is served after armed criminals murdered Charloe Musu last week.

The women dressed in black, held posters bearing the image of Charloe, daughter of Liberia’s former Chief Justice Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, and images of other victims of previous mysterious deaths here.

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in a tweet congratulated the women and said she would have joined them had she been in the country.

“Bravo to the organizers of the march against injustice and violence and to all Liberian women and men who took part. I would have been with you if I were home,” Mrs. Sirleaf said in her tweet.

Charloe was brutally murdered on Wednesday, 22 February 2023 when armed men invaded former Chief Justice Scott’s Brewerville residence.

Cllr. Scott said the attackers also wounded two other victims in the attack, but she managed to flee for her life after she used pepper spray on the assailant.

She said she reported two previous armed robbery attacks to the police and the Minister of Justice, but the authorities did not act to prevent the third attack that led to Charloe’s murder.

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The killing has provoked widespread public condemnation of the government and the state security apparatus for not taking measures immediately to deter the worse case.

Monrovia Mayor and ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Secretary General Jefferson T. Koijee, and Monrovia City Police Officer Varlee Telleh have appeared before investigators over the attacks against Cllr. Scott.

Former Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) boss Cllr. Jerome Verdier accused Koijee of allegedly ordering Telleh to carry out the attack.

Led by their legal counsel Cllr. Arthur Johnson at the Liberia National Police headquarters, Koijee and Telleh denied having any links to the brutal incidents against Cllr. Scott.

In their march to the Capitol for justice following Charloe’s death, the protesters drew in all other mysterious killings within the country.

The peaceful sit-in at the Legislature Thursday brought together women from diverse backgrounds including Cllr. Mandina Wesseh, Cllr. Moriah Kerkula, Atty. Facia Harris, the president of the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL), among others.

Reading the protesters’ petition to the Legislature, AFELL president Atty. Philomena T. Williams said the Legislature should help put an end to violence and killings in the country. 

She said the African Chapter on Human Rights gives everyone the right to protection. Atty. Williams wondered why former Chief Justice Scott was not given protection based on the provision cited when she raised alarm on two occasions of being attacked before her daughter’s death.

“We the women of Liberia and Human Rights Activists across the country, the rural women, all other women groups, have come to the Legislature saying that all forms of violence against humans shall end now,” said Atty. Williams. 

“Do you go to your county to know what is going on there?” she asked. The AFELL president explained that the women gathered to demand justice from the Representatives and Senators on Capitol Hill. 

She also suggested that when the president appoints someone who is not in the interest of the citizens, the Senate has the power to reject the person.

Atty. Williams petitioned that Legislature use its power to ensure the protection of the country.

Receiving the petition on behalf of the Liberian Senate, Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Kangar Lawrence said the Senate has already started acting.

She told the protesters that the Senate has already summoned the Police Inspector General and the Justice Minister to comment on the recent incident at Cllr. Scott’s residence.

She also said the Senate has summoned all authorities of the joint security to appear before full plenary next Tuesday. The Grand Bass Senator and political leader of the opposition Liberty Party detailed that the Senate is not sleeping on this case and other cases.

Senator Karnga-Lawrence added that the Senate is poised to cast a vote of no confidence in the Police Inspector General and the Minister of Justice. 

“We will play our part, but we are limited as well. The President has the power to act,” said Senator Karnga-Lawrence.

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