Attorney Morris Kaba, a former Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Justice, has called on the government to see reason to fast track its re-engagement of Dr. Malachi Z.K. York’s case in the United States of America to save its own image abroad.
Atty. Kaba made the observation recently, following a Daily Observer interview in which he was asked to give his account on what he knew about Dr. York’s case since he was with the late Cllr. Francis S. Garlawulo, who was York’s main legal person in Liberia.
Regarding his role in the case for which Dr. York has already served 16 years of a 135-year prison sentence, Kaba said it is inexcusable why the Liberian government has not been able to make a clear position, particularly to claim ownership of Dr. York as a Liberian citizen.
“The late Cllr. Garlawulo and I, as well as other legal fellows, understood that the U.S. Government has no case against Dr. York, and so we were indeed firm to have filed in at the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court for a declaratory judgment on the matter. We won it here, and were prepared to travel to America to team up with York’s American lawyers for a live appearance before a U.S. court, to argue the reasons why we believe Dr. York should be freed from imprisonment and subsequently repatriated to Liberia,” Kaba said.
He however said that up to now, he too is yet to know why they did not make the trip to accomplish what the late Cllr. Garlawulo wished to accomplish.
“It is not still over yet, most especially so that Dr. York, although behind bars, is still alive,” Kaba said.
He added that the Liberian government has to resurrect the matter and press for its re-argument, to justify or nullify the reasons why Dr. York is languishing behind bars.
“One shocking part of this matter is that Liberia had no representation at York’s trial in America, although he was a diplomat assigned there and working for Liberia,” Kaba said.
He said it is appalling that the U.S., which is said to be an advanced nation with an efficient justice system, could sentence Dr. York for 135 years. “This is so funny. This sounds cruel to any sound legal mind. Where in this world, including this struggling Liberia, has someone been imprisoned for so huge an amount of years? This is so disproportionate to the crime said to have been allegedly committed, and contrary to the reality of an advanced country like America, who is fond of castigating other nations for being barbaric in meting out punishment against people,” he said with a sigh of frustration.
“The crime, if even truly committed, is not treason. Therefore why sentence someone as the U.S. did? This is not fair and I think if Liberia, through its Foreign Affairs Ministry, will see reason and engage the U.S. government on the matter, it will be worthy,” the former River Cess Commissioner said.
Kaba, who is in his retirement, said there is no evidence stating that the U.S. government did not acknowledge the diplomatic status of Dr. York nor his Liberian citizenship.
The Daily Observer has in its possession a court document originating from the District Court of Colorado, referring to Dr. York as a Liberian citizen and Consul General of Liberia.
That legal instrument from the Colorado Court clearly states in its 2008 Preliminary Pretrial Conference, set for the week of August 25, 2008, that Dr. York is still a beneficiary of his diplomatic status accorded him in 1999 by former Liberian President, Charles Ghankay Taylor, as well as his right to the Liberian citizenship.
The motion to vacate the preliminary pretrial conference was earlier set by the Court for April 22, 2008. However, after an approval of a joint motion introduced and sustained by lawyers representing Dr. York and lawyers representing the U.S. government through the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), it was later reset for August 25, 2008.
The exact content of the rescheduling of the pretrial conference is:
“IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Civil Action No. 07-cv-01297-EWN-KLM
MALACHI Z. YORK, also known as DWIGHT YORK,
FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS,
JOINT MOTION TO VACATE AND RESET PRELIMINARY PRETRIAL CONFERENCE
Plaintiff Malachi Z. York, Consul General Diplomat D/P #003828-04 of the Republic of Liberia, West Africa Citizenship, misnomer Dwight D. York (Inmate #17911-054) [hereinafter “Plaintiff”], through his undersigned counsel, and Defendant the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”), through its undersigned counsel, hereby jointly move to vacate the Preliminary Pretrial Conference set for April 22, 2008, and reset it for the week of August 25, 2008.”
It may also be recalled that some witnesses who testified against Dr. York have recanted (disowned, reneged) their testimonies, although the U.S. government is yet to take some decisive action, preferably letting the world know as to whether or not Dr. York still deserves the penalty he is going through now.