The Liberia National Police has confirmed the arrest of civil society advocate Vandala Patricks for maliciously defaming the government, days after he accused the administration of hiring assassins to murder the late Harry Greaves, and ordering the shooting of main opposition Congress for Democratic Change or CDC leaders in 2011.
The Liberian Democratic Party, ex-ruling National Patriotic Party and some groups have already begun denying their involvement in claims expressed in a document that calls for a match and petition to UN peacekeepers on March 11, but CDC’s Mulbah Morlu claims his party is fully involved. “We like to reaffirm ownership of that document; everything that is discussed in that document, from the first iota, from the first dote to the last sentence was authorized by us. I am one of the custodians of that document,” the Congress for Democratic Change Vice Chair for Mobilization said via live phone call on Prime FM 105.5 Tuesday.
He also confirmed issuing ultimatum to state security actors to release Patricks unconditionally and to return his living body to his family, alleging that the safety of Patricks was questionable.
Hours after his arrest on Tuesday, 23 February, Police Spokesman SamCollins told The NewDawn via mobile phone that Patricks was in police custody and a statement was being prepared to the detail the circumstances surrounding his arrest.
A police statement later indicated that Mr. Patricks was “called in” in connection to a statement he made on Sunday, February 21, alleging that the Government of Liberia hired assassins to murder Mr. Harry Greaves and eliminate other political opponents to maintain state power.
He is also being held to address claims he made against President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf that she “gave direct orders” to shoot at the then CDC Standard Bearer Winston Tubman, Vice Standard Bearer George Weah and murdered innocent and defenseless citizens on November 7, 2011.
The Liberia National Police says the statement has the potential to undermine the peace of the state, describing it as “grave and requires the establishment of its truthfulness for the common good of the Liberian society.”
The Police say the speech that incites violence and maliciously defame the government does not fall under the category of protected free speech. Police have however assured Mr. Patricks will be accorded his fundamental rights. But CDC’s Morlu who boasts of having contact at the National Security Agency or NSA, claims to have information over alleged plans by the authority to also apprehend him.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Jonathan Browne