Two members of a group that has been beating and humiliating people believed to have been involved with homosexual (gay) activities in Liberia have been arrested and forward to the Monrovia City Court at Temple of Justice.
Defendant Cheeseman Cole, believed to be the ringleader and former member of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), along with Emmanuel Tarpeh, were arraigned before Magistrate Jomah Jallah to answer to their multiple offenses that include criminal attempt to commit murder, aggravated assault, among others. Cole and Tarpeh were later remanded at the Monrovia Central Prison to await prosecution after they could not secure a lawyer to file a bail for their release.
Though there is technically no “anti-gay law”, Liberian law criminalizes what it calls “deviate sexual intercourse”. According to the Penal Law, Volume IV, Title 26, Liberian Code of Laws Revised Approved in 1976 and Published in 1978, Sections 14.74, 14.79 and 50.7 consider “voluntary sodomy” as a first-degree misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to one-year imprisonment, with sodomy being defined as “deviate sexual intercourse” between human beings who are not (living as) husband and wife, that consists of contact between penis and anus, mouth and penis, or mouth and vulva.
The attacks, a police investigation report claims, took place between September and October 2020, wherein the defendants filmed their victims — about 27 of them in all — and extorted money and threatened them with death. Eventually, two of the victims, Youconjah Garduah and Wilson Toe, mustered the courage to report the matter to the police, which led to the arrest of the duo, Cole and Tarpeh.
The document claims that defendant Cole is usually in the constant habit of chatting with the victims on Facebook and invited them to his Robert International Airport highway residence, where he always grabbed his victims, tied and beat them. Afterwards, the record alleges, defendant Cole takes their phones and money and warns them not to tell anyone and, if they do, he will expose his victims on their Facebook accounts telling the world that they are guys or homosexual.
The court record also alleges that co-defendant Tarpeh testified that defendant Cole interacted with the victims on separate dates and times at Cole’s residence, during which time they (victims) were also tied, beaten and their money and phones were confiscated, which evidence can be seen on the call logs that were requested for. “All of the victims that defendant Cole interacted with were all seen alive and talked to except for Dominic Youconjah and Toe who are yet to be seen,” the police report claimed.