National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) has called for the immediate re-arrest and prosecution of two rape suspects recently released in Nimba County. Wilfred P. Mendein, 31, of Ganta and Saye Mezey, 34, a Guinean traditional herbalist of Saclepea City, Nimba County, were reported to have been released on bail by two judges at the county’s Eighth Judicial Circuit Court in Sanniquellie City.
Judges Roland Dahn and Hector W. Guoigoah released the two suspects who were both charged by police for statutory rape and sent to the Sanniquellie Central Prison ahead of prosecution, according to FrontPage Africa. The court is reluctant to provide detailed information that led to the release of the two alleged perpetrators, despite a number of follow-ups by Nimba-based civil society organizations.
The local CSOs are members of the NCSCL and are working under European Union and United Nations Spotlight Initiative, which seeks to end all forms of violence against women and children.
Rape is a second degree felony and a non-bailable crime. It is against this backdrop that many legal minds and ordinary Liberians think the judges might have erred.
Both men were charged by the Liberia National Police in Saclepea and Ganta (respectively) with statutory rape and were sent to the Sanniquellie central prison ahead of prosecution. Reports say the suspects were released by the judges through the intervention of Attorney- at-law, Lawrence Sua. Mendein was released on bond while the Guinean traditional herbalist, Mezey, was released for three months to seek medical treatment.
NCSCL is particularly appalled by the reported release of these suspects and is calling on Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor to investigate circumstances leading to the release of the suspects.
The Council believes that the manner and form in which Judges Dahn and Guoigoah released the two statutory rape suspects is questionable and needs to be looked into. “We do not see such actions on the part of the two judges as a mistake that should be dragged beneath the carpet, especially when the Guinean traditionalist is said to have several wives, many—if not all—of whom are reported to be minors,” a statement signed by NCSCL National Chairperson, Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai, said.