Dr. York’s U.S. Attorney Requests Liberia’s Response on His Citizenship, Others

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Dr. Malachi Z. K. York, now imprisoned for 135 years.

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.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. This is a long running case that needs immediate action. Too many times Africans in the diaspora have put themselves on the line to reconnect with our homeland and start to provide international solutions for our people. History has shown that the result of your sacrifice is assassination, defamation, false imprisonment just to name a few. Liberia must protect its own as a sovereign nation or you give licence for blacks to be treated any way any how around the world, when in this case your own diplomat was protected under international law, which all world citizens should equal under. Liberia must assert it authority like we saw India do when one of their diplomats was arrested in the states, know your worth.

  2. we are happy that Liberia is making this NEWs Because the American government tried to cover this up in such away to make this Precedent to continue to the Kidnaping of African Diplomat’s what happen to this Liberian citizen is unfortunate he has been held and tortured for 16 years…. he is a son, father, brother…. i commend Liberia for standing up for there Citizen this could happen to any Africans… in America… or abroad great work Liberia….

  3. If his conviction is not overturned by a U.S. court, the petition to have him repatriated to Liberia may not be successful, even if the Liberian government confirms his Consulate appointment. Consular immunities are not absolute and provides immunities only to cases that are functional to the Officer’s function. An example given, is if he punches a U.S. official during a meeting, he’s protected. If he gets drunk and kills a motorist, he’s not covered. It seems Dr York is imprisoned for conviction of crimes not functional to the title he supposedly held for Liberia. Note also that even if he was the Ambassador, with absolute immunity, or if the Liberian government confirms his citizenship and consular appointment, the U.S will most likely ask the Liberian government to waive Dr York diplomatic immunity, where Diplomatic immunity is absolute. They won’t need to for his Consulate appointment.

  4. I’ve been following this case closely and from the previous article published here in the Observer there was a judgement from the Montserrado County 6th Circuit Judicial Court in Monrovia that stated he was a Diplomat protected under all immunities granted by not only the VCCR but also VCDR.. This lead me to do some research on a previous case in which an Indian diplomat by the name of Devyani Khobragade was arrested in the United States and she was nothing more than a Deputy Consul General and still India was outraged and they immediately acted on behalf of their citizen and agent. It seem we firstly as Africans and secondly as Liberians have come far to complacent when it comes to reciprocity, all we do is give give give give and we receive NOTHING in exchange. We must stand up and I am proud that we finally have an administration that is not afraid of America and standing up for whats right.. nothing more .. nothng less.

  5. Philomena,
    If he’s proven to have been a diplomat and the crimes were committed during that period, I think the best effort will be to have the verdicts overturned in U.S. courts or demonstrate with facts that the crimes he’s convicted of were not committed by him. Like I mentioned earlier, it will not be in Liberia’s interest to want it’s diplomat exonerated for crimes committed in the U.S. The Liberian government will most likely waive his immunity or have him face persecution in Liberia for the crimes he was convicted of, such as prostituting minors. Note, it is a crime under international law to transport minors for sex. The U.S. may use the gravity of the crimes convicted of to make the case for waiver of immunity. This should not be a case about people’s disagreements with the U.S. on unrelated issues. The U.S. is still Liberia’s best allied for development, growth and democracy. Jurisprudence in America is layered to afford one legal remedy from injustice even if there’s flaws somewhere in the system. That’s why we have the appeal process.

  6. Firstly do you work for the United States Embassy? Seriously.. because your statements regarding development, growth, and democracy are obviously incorrect, all you have to do is walk around the city of Monrovia.. Most of the development is coming from the Chinese… I know us Liberians love America, so do I, I visited on many occasions but at one point are we going to have to face the true realities.. Though the ACS was commissioned by the United States.. It took them forever to accept us as a Nation state. Look at what Firestone did to our people, we’ve continued to be raped by the United States.. these my dear brother are facts. Remember the reason the founders came was to escape racism.. is that not correct? Do think Racism and inequality in America is gone? MLK was assassinated, Malcolm X Assassinated, Marcus Garvey Jailed. ARe you not watching the news now.. a young boy in pittsburgh PA just killed by police for being African 2 days ago.. by white police, another young boy shot for holding a water gun because he was African. What about us being a ____hole nation? Remember Trump said this just a few months ago. The problem is Larry, the ability of an African in America to have fair trial or standing in there law with out intercession by an outside force, this has been shown over and over again from their Police to their court systems is nearly impossible. For instance in the case of Joshua Holt an American Citizen who was said to have been stockpiling weapons in Venezula, he was incarcerated and was supposed to be going to trial.. The United States government insisted he did nothing wrong and DEMANDED that their citizen be returned safely back to his country. This is the same thing the Republic of Liberia did when they filed an Amicus Brief on Dr. Yorks behalf, saying that 1 he should be repatriated based on his status, 2. Reasonable doubt based on the recantation of one of the prosecutions Keys witnesses that was frowned upon by the appellate courts in the United States and 3. 135 years in a Supermaximum Prison for tax evasion and intent to have sex is abolutely proposterous and in humane, (Probably another reason they stepped down from the United Nations HRC) .. with NO hard core evidence, just hearsay from adults who made allegations and which none of were children at the time of trial. and the children that were taken off of the property were proven to not have been harmed… Dear brother you must do your research, if you KMTV Liberia there is full documentary on the Dr. York case for you to be better informed if you are being sincere and not just and an employee for the United States. Why my friend are we not entitled to the same reciprocity and in this case for a DIPLOMATIC AGENT just like they received for their citizen from Venezuela or the India for there Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade.

  7. You’re really comparing rule of law in Venezuela to the U.S? The facts in the story of Joshua clearly shows the charges were fraudulent. He is a missionary who met a woman from Venezuela, decided to go marry her and return to the U.S with her children of a previous relationship. There was no evidence submitted to prove the charges if esponaige and terrorism? And blaming underdevelopment in Liberia to the U.S? Racism is a sin problem. We all have a problem in our human nature that’s cured only by the standard set by our creator. Didn’t Liberian kill one another due to that same sin nature that cause one to hate based on differences? I still have not seen anyone address the facts of the case here against Dr. York. No one involved in crimes against children should be set from. Prove his innocence in court against the charges, and I’ll support the Liberian government pleading his return to Liberia. Your other comments on sovereignty are not relevant to this case. Liberia is free to have free trade with any nation, like China and others. I am aware of the Court’s rulings, not just from newspapers publications. The reason the U.S stepped down from the HRC is the hypocrisy, and a cowardly committee used as haven for despots, and even condemned the civilized world response to the massacre in Syria. Countries like Russia, Congo, Venezuela and Libya serves on the committee. Libya was ejected only after it began slaughtering civilians in the street. Even Mugabe was a darling of the committee. No matter how bad things get in the U.S., there is a remedy to free oneself, even if not immediately. But let’s not divert from the story here; Dr York. The U.S. court system is layered to provide the best independent legal protection. Even the government has to prove it’s case. That doesn’t happen in Russia, Venezuela and the cowardly HRC member countries.

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