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Liberia news

One week ultimatum

-As Victoria Zayzay laid to rest
A Liberian rights advocacy group -Women In Peacebuilding Network or WIPNET, has given the Government of Liberia one week ultimatum to bring to book those responsible for the death of the late Victoria Zayzayin police holding cell.

Speaking Thursday, 31 March at the funeral rite of the deceased, who allegedly was discovered unconscious in Police custody on October 20, 2015 and subsequently pronounced dead,the advocacy person for WIPNET, Bernice Freeman, said, it is not difficult to establish who killed Victoria, noting the Government is responsible because she died in the hands of the police.

Madam Freemen said it is time that all women in Liberia stand up and ensure the killers of Victoria are prosecuted. She said the women of Liberia will not be deterred; they will not rest until justice is prevailed, saying gone are the dayswhen Government will not take responsibility for its action.

She said gone are the days where women will keep silent and will not speak for their rights, saying “we don’t know Victoria or her family, but her mother is a mother and she was a woman so we are not going to rest.”

Meanwhile, human rights lawyer Attorney Samuel Kofi Woods said in his entire life as a human right lawyer, he has never seen a case so easy as Victoria’s death. Attorney Woods, an ex-Minister in the Sirleaf Administration, said the Government failed to protect one of its citizens, saying it is not about Victoria or the ZazayFamily, but Liberia.

He expressed anger over aletter from the Ministry of Justice, claiming investigation into the death is ongoing. Attorney Woods noted this had happened to too many persons and Liberians must call it an end, saying in fact, the government still has those people (police officers) working under whose watch the victim died.

In a rather angry tune,Woods said he expected the funeral rite to have been overwhelmingly attended by Liberians because it is about Liberia, and not Victoria as an individual. The funeral was attended by family members, friends and community residents as well as several rights groups with placards demanding justice in the death of the late Victoria.

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He urged that any other autopsy by the government must produce result, and be the last, stressing there should be no more investigation without result. A government’s autopsy report released by the Ministry of Justice in February failed to establish cause of death of the late Victoria Zayzay.

Attorney Woods is meanwhile calling on all Liberians to support the Zayzayfamily in having justice so the children of Liberia can go to bed in peace and not be rape, “If there is justice for the rich, there must be justice for the poor”, he emphasized.

On Wednesday four local rights advocacy groups, including the Independent Human Rights Investigators, the Women In Peacebuilding Network WIPNET, the Liberia Independent Advocate for Human Rights LIAHR, and the Advocacy Movement for Montserrado County issued a joint statement in Monrovia, demanding justice over the death of Victoria Zayzay.

The national director and lead investigator of the Independent Human Rights Investigators, Adama K. Dempster said, suspicious and mysterious deaths in Liberia have emerged as another trend of challenge, creating fear and insecurity amongst Liberians and foreign nationals.

He urged the Government to seize the opportunity to ensure protection of human security and advance the culture of human rights at all levels in the face of UNMIL’s drawdown. The late Victoria Zayzaywas born on June 29, 1994 unto the union of and Mrs. And Mr. Rufus Zazay.

She died on October 20, 2015, while in police custody where she was taken by a female neighbor following a quarrel. She leaves to mourn her mother anddad, a 3-year- old daughter Joyce Hawa Gray, and several siblings.

By Bridgett Milton -Edited by Jonathan Browne

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