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Prolonged pre-trial detention unacceptable

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Prolonged pre trial DSRSG for Rule of Law, Waldemar Very

The Deputy Special Representative for the Secretary General (DSRSG) for Rule of Law in Liberia, Waldemar Vrey, said prolonged detention of people who are still awaiting trial is unacceptable.

“Let’s look at the four consequences of the law”, he stressed. Mr. Vrey said the practice could be equated to a situation where when inmates finally go to court and are convicted, they may have already served unnecessary period in prison far beyond the penalty commensurate with their crime.

Speaking Wednesday at the dedicatory ceremony of a newly constructed Females and Adolescents Vocational Training Center at the Monrovia Central Prison in South Beach, Central Monrovia, Mr. Vrey said he is in consultation with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia His Honor Francis Korkpor and authorities at the Ministry of Justice to address the prolonged pre-trial detention.

The project, which cost US$40,000, was implemented by the local NGO Touching Humanity In Need of Kindness or THINK, and financed by UNFPA Liberia. Presenting the Center Wednesday, 8 June to the Government of Liberia during a formal ceremony at the Monrovia Central Prison, UNFPA Liberia Country Representative Dr. Oluremi Sogunro said if inmates leave prison without rehabilitation, they may become worse than when they went there.

About 35 inmates are currently at the juvenile and women rehabilitation facility, including 20 females and 15 juvenile who are predominantly pre-trial detainees. Three of the female prisoners are serving their sentences after trial and conviction.

“Today marks a very special day in Liberia”, Dr. Sogunro remarked, and disclosed that to start with, UNFPA was providing four computers, 10 sewing machines for the Center besides two computers and a printer for the correction office.

Prolonged pre-trial detention and prison congestion continue to pose serious challenge to the justice system here. Chief Justice Korkpor himself has expressed concern about the issue and promised to find solution. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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