A Liberian group, Sherah Young Women Initiative petitions the 54th
Legislature, recommending harsher punishments for convicted rapists.
Reading the petition Tuesday at the Capitol, 12-year-old Best K. Adhoghene said a person who has sex (rape) with a child 13 years and below with or without consent, should face immediate castration (by surgery) plus lifetime imprisonment without bail.
She said in the case where, a person has sex forcibly with a child (above 13 years and below 18), the rapist should face the same punishment, and that a person who has sex with a child above 13 years, with both the child and parent’s consent or knowledge (such as an arranged early marriage or a relationship with an adult), punishment for the rapist should be life imprisonment and parents or guardians who encouraged and arranged such marriage or relationship should receive between one to three years imprisonment without bail.
The petitioner continues that parent/guardian, organization, community group or traditional leader, facilitators such as hotel/motel/residential or entertainment centers and any other person who facilitates in any way rape of a child or were aware of and refused to prevent or report the rape of a child, should be sentenced to between one to three years without bail based on the extent of facilitation or awareness.
The petitioner maintains that this would help Liberians learn the importance of reporting rape cases, including people who use children for prostitution or provide accommodation for such an act to take place.
The group also recommends that the current punishment for rape of a man or woman be amended to 30 years imprisonment without bail and that any law enforcement officer caught demanding money bribes or fees to prosecute or investigate rape cases or proven to have recommended compromise of rape cases for family/community settlement, should be fined US$5,000 or imprisoned for three years without bail.
Receiving the petition on behalf of the Legislature, Montserrado County electoral district #4 Representative Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis, who chairs the Committee on Claims and Petition assure that the document will be peruse and forwarded to the Liberian Senate and President George M. Weah for action.
By Bridgett Milton–Editing by Jonathan Browne