Victoria Broussard, Dr. Malachi Z.K. York’s attorney based and practicing in the United States, has called on the Liberian government to respond, preferably in the contrary, to a statement by the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia that Dr. York cannot be repatriated or deported to Liberia because he is a U.S. citizen.
In a diplomatic note dated May 8, 2007, and addressed to authorities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the U.S. Embassy conveyed that “the Department of State has consulted with the Bureau of Prisons and with the Department of Justice and advises the Liberian government that to deport Dr. York to Liberia is not possible.”
The U.S. Embassy’s note, which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, states, “after a three-week jury trial in 2004, Mr. York was convicted on 11 charges of, among other things, transporting minors for purpose of engaging in unlawful sexual activity and structuring cash transactions to avoid Federal reporting requirements.”
The note which is also a reply to the Liberian government’s diplomatic note, RL/MFA/3066/2-5/06, dated October 24, 2005, requesting repatriation or deportation of Dr. York, said nothing can be done unless he completes his sentence.
Broussard, however, disagrees with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and the State Department, and has therefore questioned the validity of the US Embassy’s Diplomatic Note because there is no signature or initials, by outlining that Dr. York has fully complied with Title 8 of the U.S. Code 1481-loss of nationality by native-born or naturalized citizen, which in pertinent part, states that “a person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily obtaining naturalization in a foreign state upon his own application or upon an application filed by a duly authorized agent, after having attained the age of 18; taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof, after having attained the age of 18.”
“The United States Bureau of Prison continues to torture my client by refusing him with the needed medication and proper standard of care to treat his life threatening, unpredictable condition, violating his human rights daily, tampering with his legal mail, and alienating him from his family,” Broussard said in her request note to the Liberian government, and forwarded same to the U.S. Justice system.
Further citing loss of U.S. citizenship’s procedures, Broussard said Dr. York, in 1999, duly accepted and served, until his arrest in 2002, the post of consular general from the Liberian government in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
“Dr. Malachi York has shown by a preponderance of evidence that he successfully and voluntarily surrendered his citizenship to the US Government,” Broussard said.
According to her, Article 15 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, to which the US is a signatory, allows Dr. York, the right to choose which country becomes his home of nationality at any time, more having surpassed even the age of 18.
In Liberian law, if a child is born to a foreigner but in Liberia, at the age of 18, he/she is able to make a decision of being Liberian and as further provided for by the same law, the declaratory judgment handed down by Yusuf Kaba (then judge of the 6th Judicial Circuit Court), says Dr. York duly acquired Liberian citizenship in 1999 by naturalization, and was appointed and given the status of a diplomatic agent when former President Charles Taylor was still at the helm of power.
The U.S. Embassy’s diplomatic note #:052/07, further has in it that Dr. York was sentenced to 1,620 months or 135 years, and that his sentence has been upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
“Mr. York’s petition requesting that the U.S. Supreme Court hear the case was denied on June 26, 2006.
He is currently housed at the US Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, but his sentence is expected to be completed in December, 2119,” the note said.
It added that, “Mr. York is a US citizen so his sentence must be served in the US.”
Atty. Broussard emphasized in her communication that Liberian government’s re-engagement of the case is important for the process to move swiftly so as to protect the well-being and health of her client.
She maintains that Dr. York is innocent and entitled to all immunity within the Vienna Convention, which forbids all nations, including the U.S. from arresting and imprisoning a diplomat.
Relying on the declaratory judgment of July 21, 2004, by Yusuff Kaba in Liberia that confirmed his status as a naturalized citizen and a diplomatic agent, and a host of others findings, including “mistreatment of prisoners at Florence ADMAX cell,” she said no time may be better than now to save Dr. York’s life.
Broussard is requesting the Liberian government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue to the US Department a “Request for Repatriation of Dr. Malachi York,” as such instrument will certainly effectuate the process for the removal of her client from prison, “which is wrongfully housing him.”
According to the Marshall Project, “in 2012, a class action suit was filed against the Florence ADMAX Prison, and in that case, the U.S. District Judge, Richard Matsch refused a request by Federal lawyers to dismiss. This ended up being one of the most significant victories in the history of litigation against the Bureau of Prisons.”
The Marshall Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system. It achieves this through award-winning journalism, partnerships with other news outlets and public forums.
While the Liberian government is expected to respond to the U.S. government’s diplomatic note, Atty. Brousard has planned to visit Liberia with her team any time soon to assist the Garlawulo Law Firm in their efforts to ensure that Dr. York is repatriated.
Although Cllr. Francis Garlawulo is dead the Garlawulo Law Firm, however, has vowed to continue pursuing to a logical conclusion Dr. York’s case.