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UP, Police at each other’s throats

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The former ruling Unity Party is at the throat of authorities of the Liberia National Police for reportedly declaring its secretary general Mohammed Ali, alias Mo Ali, a ‘wanted man’ over the weekend.

According to a press statement issued in Monrovia on March 18, 2021, the Unity Party was informed by Mr. Ali of a phone text message received, inviting him to the National Police Headquarters at on March 19, for a conversation around a Facebook post he made on March 1, 2021. The post referenced in the text stated “Dear National Elections Commission, we understand the ploy. But try it and you will see what is gonna be the end result.”

The government has alleged that consequent of Mr. Ali’s post, there have been incidents of petrol bombs thrown at the residence of Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe and the headquarters of the National Elections Commission for which he was invited to clarify “motive and intent” of his post.

On March 19, 2021, representation was made on behalf of Mr. Ali by his lawyers through a communication duly delivered to the office of the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, requesting an excuse from the Friday, March 19, invite due to ailment of the Secretary General, with a commitment to accompany him to the LNP’s headquarters today, Monday, March 22, 2021 at 10am.

In the letter signed by Cllr. Finley Y. Karngar and Cllr. Moiffie Kenneh, they provided their individual contact numbers and email addresses, should the LNP decides to contact them for further information.
However, at about 2pm on March 19, four hours after receiving the letter from Mr. Ali’s lawyers, the very same police declared Mr. Mohammed Ali “Wanted” and ordered his arrest.

The Unity Party believes the action of police contradicts the laws of Liberia and the rights of Mr. Ali, a law abiding citizen, noting that this seems to be an attempt by the State to intimidate and prosecute members of the opposition who have objectively spoken against socio-political ills.

According to Chapter 1.5 of the Penal Law of Liberia, “No conduct constitutes an offense unless it is a crime or infraction under [the penal law] or another statute of Liberia”.

The UP further notes the government cannot attempt to arrest Mr. Ali over a Facebook post without due process to establish any link between his post and that which the government alleges. It adds that besides, Chapter 2.2.1 of the Criminal Procedure Law of Liberia provides an accused person the right to representation by legal counsels. As in the case of Mr. Ali, this representation requesting a postponement of the conference due to his medical condition was made by Cllr. Karngar and Cllr. Kenneh and therefore, the government cannot declare him “wanted” for failure to submit to their invitation when in fact, he did accordingly through his lawyers as provided by law.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne

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