Former Charles Taylor bodyguard says this is probably why he was deported.
Charles D. Cooper, a former agent of the Special Security Service (SSS) now known as the Executive Protective Service (EPS) to former President Charles G. Taylor, said he was wrongly deported from the United States of America (USA). Cooper also rejected being directly involved in the persecution of civilians and burning down of villages in Liberia.
On Friday, June 29, at a press conference in Monrovia, Mr. Cooper told journalists that he has never been enlisted in any military or faction group, neither did he ever go on the front-line to fight a war as well as ever participating in any human rights abuse activities.
The 45-year old said he was an agent of the SSS from 1994 –2006; wherein he was merely part of Special Unit of the SSS assigned specifically with former President Charles Taylor as well as the Chief of Protective Service under Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, from October 2003, to January 2016.
Cooper said throughout the testimonies during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), his name was never mentioned, and there is no report about him being involved any rights abuses.
The TRC was a court-like transitional justice body assembled after the crisis intended to address past human rights abuses. During the process, individuals (witnesses) who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences. Some of them were also selected for public or in-camera hearings.
“I want to throw this out to the TRC, the Ministry of Justice and the Civil Society Organizations, including the public to investigate if my name was ever in any human rights violations.”
“I have been lied upon, and possibly, I was deported because I refused to testify against former President Charles G. Taylor,” Cooper said.
“I was approached by one Mohammed David, popularly known as Visah, and because I refused to testify, he falsely told the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deportation officers that I am a human rights violator – which is a campaign of lies against me.”
Cooper also said he was also probably deported, because of guilt of association for being in the employed of the SSS to protect former President Charles G. Taylor.
A former elite SSS officer, who begged for anonymity told the Daily Observer yesterday that Cooper, whose nickname is ‘Charlie Charlie’ was a common SSS officer, an agent and employee trained only to protect the Presidency, while there was others, who were elite SSS officers.
“If you read the transcripts of the trial of Charles Taylor, at 9:31 a.m., Aug. 31, 2009, you will get to know some of the elite SSS officers whose names Taylor mentioned but not Cooper,” the source said.
“Some of the names the former President called were Patrick S. Korquoi, Stephen Kollie,Henry S Tolon, Davis S Wleh, Ben A. Whyte and Isaac Nyana. Others were Johnson Matthew, Emmanuel Bracewell, Charles Wright, William Taylor, Victor Raynes, David Rouhlac, Abraham T Kiadii, Samuel D. Askie, Joe Crawford and Albert Harris, not Cooper.”
“Of course the names of Benjamin Yeaten, Zwannah Johnson as well as George F. Kermee, Mary L. Daniels, Alvin T. Sumo and Jean D. Harmon, Andrew Koinah, Paul S. Wehyee, Peter Askie and Abraham Dennis were also mentioned by Taylor and some of his special (trusted) body guards,” the officer said.
Mr. Cooper is married with five children. Prior to his deportation, he was a public health officer.
It can be recalled that Cooper was deported to Liberia on June 19 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deportation officers.
The reports said ICE investigation revealed that prior to coming to the US, Cooper, while a member of the SSS and the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, was directly involved in the persecution of civilians in Liberia.
This case was litigated by ICE’s Baltimore Office of Chief Counsel with the support of the Human Rights Law Section and the Immigration Law and Practice Division and was supported by ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC).
Established in 2009, the HRVWCC furthers ICE’s efforts to identify, locate and prosecute human rights abusers in the United States, including those who are known or suspected to have participated in persecution, war crimes, genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings, female genital mutilation and the use or recruitment of child soldiers.