The Liberia National Police (LNP) has broken silence over the Jestina Taylor’s situation that prompted a mass protest at the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital in Oldest Congo Town, reportedly resulting to the wounding of three police officers and the arrests of three protesters.
The police told reporters on Friday, 4 October that talk show host Henry Costa had falsely alarmed that victim Jestina who alleged to have been raped and tortured, had been placed under arrest by the police here, thus prompting the protest for her release.Hundreds of protesters blocked the main road in Oldest Congo Town and the route leading to the Hospital and clashed with police last week in demand of the victim’s release.
Protesters were angry upon hearing that armed police were deployed at the hospital to prevent Jestina from leaving, though she had reportedly been scheduled to be interviewed at the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia for a possible trip to seek advanced medication in the U.S.
Jestina had reported here that she was nearly killed by some unknown men who had allegedly kidnapped, raped and tortured her mercilessly after she made a troubling accusation against ruling party Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Youth League Chair and Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee.
But Police Spokesman Moses Carter told reporters over the weekend that the situation at Oldest Congo Town resulted from an alleged “false alarm” by talk show host Henry Costa of Roots FM.Carter alleges that Costa had falsely alarmed that Jestina had been placed under arrest by the police here.
Carter laments that some Liberians converged and blocked the Catholic Junction and the hospital’s entrance without authenticating the information released by Mr. Costa.
He says the protest prevented free movement of peaceful citizens and patients from seeking medical treatment.Carter says the protest also hindered other citizens’ rights to freedom of movement as guaranteed in Article 13 of the Liberian Constitution.He denies report that Jestina was placed under arrest by the LNP, noting that prior to her release from the hospital, LNP authorities had been in constant interactions with the human rights community through its Secretary Adama Dempster on the way forward.
Before leaving the hospital, Carter says the LNP thought it was expedient to obtain voluntary statement from Jestina in reference to her earlier commitment to speak to the police upon her discharge.But he says Jestina chose not to provide a written statement until later while the investigation continues.Carter says it was unfortunate that some Liberians stormed the premises of the Catholic Hospital and blocked the main road.
He reports that four LNP officers sustained major injuries from stone throwing protesters, adding that the officers are undergoing treatment at the John F. Kennedy Hospital.Meanwhile, Carter says four protesters were arrested by responding officers and they have charged with aggravated assault, rioting, and failure to disperse and disorderly conduct.
The suspects are awaiting court trial, he says.Additionally, Carter says the LNP regrets any reports of journalists being manhandled by responding officers.But in reaction to Mr. Carter’s assertions, the Roots FM Management says its broadcast was intended to create the necessary awareness and provide factual information to Liberians across the country about the action of the police which violate the fundamental rights of Jestina.
The Management says it will continue to monitor the movement of the rape and torture victim wherever she goes to ensure that her life is protected at all times from those wicked and cruel individuals.By Emmanuel Mondaye—Edited by Winston W. Parley