Court Orders Child Rights Activist Keita, Others Arrested

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The Monrovia City Court has ordered the arrest of child rights activist Abraham M. Keita and few of his followers.

The order, a copy of which is in the possession of Daily Observer, has charged Keita and others with ‘criminal coercion,’ and was released to the Liberian National Police (LNP) by Stipendiary Magistrate J. Kennedy Peabody.

Keita, last Tuesday, led a group of his supporters to the Capitol Building, holding placards demanding Grand Gedeh District #2 Representative, Morais Waylee, to resign and exonerate himself from an allegation that he raped his 13 year-old niece, as reported by a local daily.

The arrest order for Keita and his supporters was filed by Rep. Waylee, who told journalists they should face him in court. “It is Keita’s right to do his job as an activist, but he must also be willing to take responsibility for his actions,” Rep. Waylee said. The situation started when a local daily claimed that Rep. Waylee raped his 13 year-old niece.

The newspaper report claimed that the victim and her parents settled the issue with the lawmaker, but an unidentified source “blew the whistle on the incident.”

However, Rep. Waylee said in a radio interview that the story is false.

While no one knows who is telling the truth, activist Keita believed the newspaper story, and without confirming that he has investigated the story, recounted it at the event.

Keita said: “The parents of the girl, who are aware that she is a minor, probably have compromised the case, but I am not deterred in doing my job as an advocate for the rights of Liberian children.”

He added that Varney Jersey, president of the Liberia National Students’ Union (LINSU), is behind bars “even though he is yet to be declared guilty of a rape case against him.”

He also claimed that after the protest on Tuesday, two cars with license plates HOR 64 and A34347 tailed (followed) him and his group.

“And security personnel from Capitol Building handed me unsigned court arrest warrants…I refused the arrest order after talking to Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, my legal adviser.

“I have written the U.S. Embassy and other international bodies, who are in the business of protecting human rights, on what is unfolding with our job and we hope they will step in to properly educate our people on the way to maintain peace with all,” Keita added.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. The issue of advocacy in Liberia must not ignore the justice system. If Keita got proof about the representative waylee raped a minor , in my view stops him from seeking court’s intervention for justice to be served? carrying placards does not mean a thing, Keita. the representative did more honorable by taking Keita to court. If this kid, Keita , is not careful his advocacy light could be dim very soon. humanright activists always challenge issues in court.

  2. Liberia laws are meant for only the poor. imagine, this case of so-called Honorable man (raping his nice leading to pregnancy) whose responsibilities are to make laws in the interest of the Liberian people are now found in the habit of corruption, rape, robby, drug and the rest of these crimes but can always be compromised by the rule of laws simply of affiliation and positions in government. But with these evil activities in the land of Liberia, they will be voted out simply they are not in the interest of the Liberian people.

  3. With sufficient and convencing info about the situation, the advocates acted appropriately. A cardinal role of advocates is to create public awareness, while pursuing the necessary legal options should the situation warrant the need for such.

    The entire sanerio clearly demonstrates where we are as a nation and people. Public servants using their privileges to usurp the law or the system to their advantage. To have quarantined peaceful protesters is both illegal and amoral. Police officers become a pawn of public servants in a land where law and order are skewed. This just makes another case why we need chane.

  4. With sufficient and convencing info about the situation, the advocates acted appropriately. A cardinal role of advocates is to create public awareness, while pursuing the necessary legal options should the situation warrant the need for such.

    The entire sanerio clearly demonstrates where we are as a nation and people. Public servants using their privileges to usurp the law or the system to their advantage. To have quarantined peaceful protesters is both illegal and amoral. Police officers become a pawn of public servants in a land where law and order are skewed. This just makes another case why we need change. Weed out the unfit and immoral!

  5. Were the Ministry of Gender Services not created just to grab money from the international community, but meant to protect girls, women, etc. in a post – war country where sexual violence was once weaponized, a division of Child Protective Services would’ve existed. This means whether the parents of the reported victim of the alleged rape agreed or not, officials of that Division would’ve picked her up for medical examination, treatment, counselling, and so on. As it is, the government failed the thirteen years old girl, the just cause of Activist Mr. Keita, and even the Accused should in case the rape story prove false.

    For instance, in the state of New Jersey where I reside, a person is guilty of “criminal coercion” if, with purpose unlawfully to restrict another’s freedom of action to engage, or refrain from engaging in conduct, he threatens to, for instance, in this case, “accuse anyone of an offense”. However, It is a defense to prosecution “if the actor believed the accusation … to be true, and that his purpose was limited to compelling the other to behave in a way reasonably related to the circumstances which were the subject of the accusation … desisting from further misbehavior, or making good a wrong done…”

    The above – mentioned is the reason why the rush to arrest in a public place for just placard – carrying peaceful protests would seem a tad disquieting for many. Granted that a political leadership which has lost the confidence of the populace must be jumpy about public protests before they spread like uncontrollable wild fire, yet good policing isn’t simply arresting and jailing. It is mainly about persuasion; using judicious discretion, and diplomacy to gain the same calming outcome. After all, rather than Praetorian Guard law enforcement officers, the overarching role is as peace officers. Our hearts go out to all the parties: settle this matter, and empower the MOG.

  6. The government needs to step in and get to the root of it. It could be they did it the in house way. If the government really wants to get rid of that kind of inhuman acts on the little girls, it needs to take action.

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