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Sassywood practice rises in Nimba

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The New Dawn Liberia The New Dawn LiberiaNimba County Public Defender, Attorney Meawaseh Paye-Baye, has accused magistrates and commissioners in the county of extracting money from citizens.

According to Attorney Paye-baye, commissioners in Nimba are allegedly conducting sassywood (trial by ordeal) against  citizens and extracting huge sums of money from them, while magistrates are involved in collecting bond fees, which according to him, contravenes the laws of Liberia.

He said, on several occasions, magistrates collect not less than 60,000 Liberian Dollars from citizens as bond fees, while commissioners collect over 80,000 Liberian dollars from citizens, who are accused of involvement in witchcraft activities.

Attorney Paye-Baye reminded that the laws of Liberia do not recognize trial by ordeal.

The Government of Liberia had since 2005 illegalized trial by ordeal through the Ministry of Justice.

Speaking to reporters recently at the opening of the February Term of court in Sanniquellie, Nimba County Attorney Paye-Baye also disclosed that on a daily basis, law enforcing officers in the county are involved with bad practices in the execution of their duties.

He said those allegedly involved are being complained daily to the circuit court in Sanniquellie, but no action is being taken against them.

The Public Defender noted that these practices by law enforcing officers are not good for the post-war Liberia.

In an interview with Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, during a recent visit to Nimba, the Chief Justice urged judges to do away with collection of bond fees from party litigants, who have been affected and are seeking justice, but to direct them to the Ministry of Finance for said payment.

When contacted, magistrates in Sanniquellie declined to speak to The NewDawn on grounds that they are not permitted to speak the media.

Witchcraft activities are said to be on the increase in Nimba with children under age or minors predominantly involved in the practices.

By Franklin Doloquee, Nimba

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