If the government knows it has no list of certain individuals as alleged by the political leader of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), Simeon Freeman, it should have said so in a statement and not send officers to arrest or hunt him, former Solicitor General Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe said.
It may be recalled that following the discovery of the remains of former Liberia Petroleum Refinery Corporation (LPRC) Managing Director Harry Greaves Jr., whose mysterious death was reported when his remains were found on Sunday, January 31 from a alleged drowning incident, Mr. Freeman, at a press conference on Thursday, February 4, claimed that the Liberian government has hired a death squad for ten politicians and critics, including himself.
According to Cllr. Gongloe, for the government to send police Emergency Response Unit (ERU) officers to “hunt” for Mr. Freeman, it diverted attention from investigations into the death of Mr. Harry Greaves Jr., to suggest that there could be something else in his allegation.
In a telephone interview with the Daily Observer yesterday, Cllr. Gongloe said the government has enough means to have told the Liberian people its side of the story or to have denied it outright as “lies” instead of hunting for Freeman.
He reflected that the issue of police inviting a citizen, for whatever reason, to its headquarters “reminds us of the past when Liberians who were invited never returned home alive.”
Cllr. Gongloe said, “This government prided itself on ensuring freedom of speech, which is enshrined in Article 15 of the Constitution; and therefore, it could have watered down the allegation with the means it has at its disposal.”
He regretted that the situation was blown out of proportion to create unnecessary apprehension in the country.
“There was no need for the heightened tension that has engulfed the country with the government’s attempt to get Mr. Freeman,” Cllr. Gongloe said.
He said the government has set itself up to repeal criminal and seditious laws, and therefore with the current development against Mr. Freeman’s allegation it makes it difficult to know whether the government will keep its promise to repeal laws that impede the freedom of speech and of the press.
“It is also not necessary [for police to harass people on] reports about journalists and others who are being harassed or being denied to do their job,” he stated, “and therefore, I think there should be another approach to events of the last couple of days; and let’s get back to the most important investigation that we face today.”