The National Chairman of the opposition Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), John Barlone, has threatened to take legal action against the government for what it called the ‘unlawful embarrassment of its political leader Simeon Freeman.’
Mr. Barlone, who made the announcement on Friday at the party’s headquarters in Monrovia, said the action by the government of Liberia, through the Liberia National Police to subject Mr. Freeman’s family to humiliation by holding them “hostage for over four days without access to food, water and other necessities is unlawful, counterproductive and condemnable of good governance.”
“We shall effect a legal pursuit of this matter against the government. These actions signal an apparent hastened return to the ugly past, and a contradiction of President Sirleaf’s recent assertion that Liberia is safe. Safe indeed, for the few political patrons of the system, not the critical voices and the ordinary citizens,” he said.
Mr. Barlone maintained that the MPC feels insecure by recent circumstances that characterized the so-called “‘police invitation’ of our political leader, Mr. Freeman, the violation of the fundamental rights of his family members and other occupants from accessing food, water and free movement, the attending fear and insecurity hatched among community dwellers and the undeserved brutality meted out on some of our partisans who were considered ‘suspicious’ by police officers deployed at his Beverly Hills residence in Virginia.
“With cognizance of the government of Liberia’s constitutional responsibilities of protecting the lives of its citizens and guaranteeing their fundamental rights and liberties, coupled with the unwarranted display of arrogance by police authorities that led our political leader into recent silence, the Movement for Progressive Change is emphatic that should anything happen to our political leader, the government of Liberia shall be held responsible,” Chairman Barlone stated.
Mr. Barlone said the party maintains that Mr. Freeman made no allegation as claimed by the government of Liberia.
“Instead he requested the government to constitute an inclusive panel as a way of opening up the investigation in order to allay the rumors of a death squad, a blacklist, etc., as being circulated on the street corners and reported in local dailies,” he said.
However, Barlone said if the government is convinced of prosecuting Mr. Freeman, it should proceed to the court and stop violating the rights of his family members, close associates and partisans.
“Do you need to see the alleged offender of the law before filing a legal action? asked Barlone. “We encourage the opposition community to strengthen the networking more than ever before as a way of watching each other’s back, as well as request the international community, particularly the United Nations through its mission in Liberia, to strengthen its watch over us during its remaining stay in Liberia,” said Barlone.
Meanwhile, Barlone said the party stands ready to collaborate with all well-meaning citizens and organizations to expose every act of cruelty against Liberians that has led to heightened poverty, hopelessness, and deprivation.