But, Montserrado County Attorney Edwin Martin defies Sudue’s appearance
The Inspector-General of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Patrick Sudue together with several others officers to include Walter B. Wrat, assistant director for operation (code #105) are to shortly appear before the Independent National Commission of Human Rights of Liberia (INCHRL) in connection to a complaint filed to the commission, accusing them of being involved with human rights violation in the enforcement of the state of emergency particularly, the wearing of face masks.
Sudue’s appearance resulted from a complaint filed by Counselor Arthur Johnson, who accused six (6) police officers, including two females, of flogging a lady identified as Siah Johnson Dweh (relative of Cllr. Johnson) for not wearing a face mask while in public.
However, the Montserrado County Attorney, Cllr. Edwin Martins, believed to be the lawyer of Sudue, when he appeared before the Truth FM Radio Station phone-in program, challenged any institutions including the INCHR to cite Sudue for an investigation over human rights abuses.
Defending Sudue’s action, Martins argued that Sudue is ensuring the full implementation of the state of emergency as pronounced and mandated by President George Weah, and at no time will he (Sudue), be allowed to address any human rights violation complaint filed by anyone, including Cllr. Johnson, to the Human Rights Commission.
“Sudue is now focusing on the President’s mandate and will not be investigated by any institution and if anyone believed that he committed any human rights violation, let that person go to the court,” Martins said in defense of Sudue’s non-compliance posture.
The incident happened on Tuesday, April 29 by 6:30 a.m., in front of the Kanga, building, opposite the Lone Star office, in the St. Paul Bridge Community, Bushrod Island, outside of Monrovia.
“IG Sudue under the doctrine of respondent supervisor for his issuance of wrongful orders to six (6) officers that they should flog and beat who they observed failed to fully observe the health protocol and failure to wear face mask,” Cllr. Johnson claims in his complaint, captioned: “Human rights violation (cruel, torture and inhumane treatment, police brutality and abuse.”
Johnson’s complaint continues, “Sudue is liable for human rights abuse on grounds that the officers in question were under the his chain of command and authority and performing under his instruction.”
The complaint further alleges that Sudue in justifying his human rights violation was heard on the Truth FM Radio Station, where Cllr. Johnson quoted Sudue as saying, “that he authorized his LNP officers to beat and whip Liberian citizens who they believed in their discretion were not following the health protocol(s) for the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Cllr. Johnson’s complaint argued that Sudue has no authority to authorize police officers to use the whip and flog alleged violators of the health protocol, of which Johnson claimed that Siah was in compliance with health protocol.
Assistant Director Wrat, Cllr. Johnson said, is a direct supervisor of the six officers who allegedly brutalized Madam Dweh on Tuesday morning, April 29, “and he deliberately failed to address the plights and abuse that was meted against the lady, because she did not have face mask worn.
“Sudue has no backing in law, both national and international, to authorize the whipping and flogging of Liberian citizens for alleged violation of health protocols to wear the face mask,” Cllr. Johnson said.
Cllr. Johnson’s complaint grew of an incident that took place on Tuesday, morning, April 29, by 6:30 a.m., in which one of his sisters, Siah Johnson Dweh, told him that while on her way from her St.Paul Bridge residence, she came across six police officers, two of who were female, with one being an officer of the Police Support Unit (PSU), who Siah identified as Kemah Binda, inflicted serious bodily injuries on her (Siah’s) body and allegedly stole US$480, thereby constituting human rights violation.
Madam Dweh further explained that on her way to the Waterside Market riding in a tricycle (keh-keh) with other passengers on board, they were stopped by the six officers including Kemah, one of the female officers, and they were asked out of the keh keh, an order to which they peacefully complied.
Thereafter, she alleged, she was asked by one of the officers, who she could physically identify, about her face mask.
In response, Siah claimed that she told the officers she had forgotten to wear the mask and it was in her bag. Unfortunately, Siah claimed that while she attempted and bend on her knees to take the mask from her bag and wear it, in compliance of the instruction given to her by the police commander, who also she could not identify, she unexpectedly received a whip on her back by Officer Kemah. Thereafter, the other officers jumped on her and started whipping her on her back and all over her body, resulting in her sustaining bruises and bleeding.
While being brutalized by the officers, Siah claims that her US$480 fell on the ground including some unaccounted Liberian dollars banknotes. Officer Kemah took away the United States dollar portion and defiantly refused to hand it over to her.
“Kemah started to rain insults at me throughout the time I was taken to the Headquarters of the LNP,” Siah claimed.
Cllr. Johnson also alleged that while Siah and the accused officers were at the police headquarters, the authority there displayed absolute disregard for the human rights of the victim and refused to intervene.
“Siah stayed at the headquarters for more than five hours without redress and I was compelled to file this complaint against them because, up to the filing of this complaint, Siah continues to suffer bodily injuries and pain, as a consequence of the brutality meted out against her by the officers that were acting under the instruction of the IG Sudue,” Cllr. Johnson’s complained alleges.