In an effort to curtail prolonged pre-trial detention in Liberia, Serving Humanity for Development (SHED) and its partners have for the second time freed five pretrial detainees from the Gbarnga Central Prison in Bong County.SHED is a rights group that deals with strengthening the rights of prisoners within correctional facilities at grassroot levels in Liberia.
It is currently operating a two – year project funded by the European Union.
Speaking to our correspondent in Bong County recently, SHED official Atty. GotoKolubah says the organization is working with the Gbarnga Central Prison and some courts in Bong County to fast track cases that have spent longer time on dockets.
Mr. Kolubah reveals that there are many individuals who have been placed behind bars for a long time, but their cases have not been adjudicated.He explains that the five pretrial detainees who were freed were individuals who spent a long time at the Gbarnga Central Prison.
He discloses that SHED will also free some pretrial detainees at the Gbatala Magisterial Court.“You cannot have someone who has not been guilty of a crime living in cell for more than two to three years. We think it is against their rights and we must stand strong against such acts,” Mr. Kolubah says.
Following their release, some of the prisoners thanked Serving Humanity for Development for their humanitarian gesture in securing the release of detainees from the Gbarnga Central Prison.According to Refuge Pope and Godknow Sumo, they were placed behind bars for fighting and stealing, respectively.
They however admonish youths of the country to stay away from trouble, describing prison as a bad facility.Detainees Sumo and Pope say they encountered difficulties while at the prison facility.By Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Bong–Edited by Winston W. Parley