The campaigners seeking the release of Ms. Agnes Reeves Taylor, ex-wife of imprisoned former President Charles Ghankay Taylor, have asked the British authorities for Agnes’ extradition to Liberia.
“The question is we don’t have guarantee that she will get fair trial there. So our campaign will take a different dimension to press them to have her extradited to Liberia. We see prejudice here. We’re not satisfied with this thing,” Mr. Frederick Baye, head of the campaign told an interview outside the British Embassy Thursday, 25 April.
Ms. Agnes Reeves Taylor is charged with alleged war crimes committed here during the Liberian civil war, like her ex-husband Taylor who is also facing a 50 – year jail sentence in a British prison following his conviction in 2012.
Madam Agnes Taylor was arrested in east London in early June 2017 for four torture offences allegedly committed between 1989 and 1991 during Liberia’s civil war.
The British authorities charged her with three counts of intentionally inflicting severe pain or suffering on an individual in the performance of her official duties.
An estimated 250,000 people were reported killed during Liberia’s civil conflict, properties destroyed and many more displaced by the bloodshed.
But the group advocating for her release from the British cell, the Patriotic Consciousness Association of Liberia (PACA) insists that Ms. Agnes Taylor committed no such crimes, and calls on the Liberian Government to intervene for her immediate release.
Speaking with journalists following a meeting with British Ambassador to Liberia David Belgrove on 12th Street, Sinkor, PACA National Executive Chairman Frederick Baye insists that the group wants Ms. Taylor extradited to Liberia if the crime she is alleged to have committed occured on Liberian soil.
But Mr. Baye says Amb. Belgrove was cleared that what PACA is demanding is highly above his (Belgrove’s) level, citing separation of power as Ms. Agnes’ case lies within the British judicial system.
However, Mr. Baye indicates that Amb. Belgrove assures that PACA and the Embassy will remain engaged, and that the group’s concerns will be transmitted to the British government.
Notwithstanding, Mr. Baye laments that the diplomatic responses that PACA received “were not in the interest of our advocacy,” though he acknowledges that this is the beginning of the engagement.
“To open their gate to allow PACA in today to have the discussion with our delegation, the Executive Committee is very much, at initially appreciative for the accomodation,” Mr. Baye says.
He stresses that the fate of Ms. Taylor lies in the hands of the British people “and they will continue to account for it under our campaign.”
Mr. Baye urges the need for the British authorities to keep Liberians informed about the condition of Ms. Taylor, her movement, what she eats and what her situation is.
He complains that Ms. Taylor has been held in British cell for years, while individuals are allegedly moving here and there to collect evidence from foreign countries including Guinea.
Mr. Baye specifically accuses [World Crimes Court campaigner] Mr. Hassan Bility of allegedly amassing wealth at the expense of the life of Ms. Taylor.
According to him, the next stage of PACA’s campaign cannot be explained to the public at this time.
In further efforts to get appropriate response from the Liberian government, Mr. Baye says PACA is going to move in to engage Foreign Minister Gbehzohngar Findley who PACA understands received an inquest from the British authorities.
According to him, the British are asking the Liberian government for information if Ms. Taylor committed crime here away from the crimes she has been accused of.
During a previous interaction with the press, Ms. Taylor’s sister, Madam Laurice Reeves Bryant called on the Liberian government to come to the rescue of its citizen to end her continuous detention by the British authorities.
“Liberia has never charged her or accused her of any crimes. If she was, she would have been on that list of TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] listing of all of those people …; she’s not on that list, but yet then still she’s being held in prison for almost two years,” Madam Bryant said.
By Winston W. Parley