Opposition Decries Senate Action to Amend Rape Law

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Liberian men march with anti-rape posters. (Photo: UNMIL/Staton Winter)

The standard bearer of the Alternative National Congress, Alexander B. Cummings, has reacted sharply to the decision by the Liberian Senate to amend the country’s rape law which originally treated rape as a non-bailable offense.

With this action, Cummings said the Senate is prioritizing bailing out accused rapists instead of giving due attention to upholding the judicial system and to ensuring swift justice for women traumatized by rape.

The non-bailable law was initiated following the second Liberian civil war, to address the many atrocities Liberian women endured.

The law making rape a non-bailable offense addressed the culture of violence against women that once engulfed the country.

The Senate amended the Rape Law on Tuesday, October 3 and forwarded it to the House of Representatives.

Legal deterrents to rape and to violence against women in general, is a key legacy of the past 12 years of peace and stability, which we have enjoyed, he said.

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Presidential candidate Alexander B. Cummings, is against the Senate’s decision to make rape a bailable offense

“The move in the Senate takes our country backward and it sends a clear message to women that our current lawmakers will not prioritize women’s safety and rights,” Cummings said.

Cummings said he is against gender-based violence and is therefore letting women and offenders alike know that he will uphold the judicial system and fight for the rights of all Liberian women and girls.

Stated Cummings: “I want the Senate to know that when this bill comes across my desk as President, the first thing I will do is veto it.”

Abusing the non-bailable rape law

Meanwhile, there have been cries of injustice in the current non-bailable law, through which some men have been accused and detained for years without justice.

“Some women have falsely accused some men of rape and those men have been detained without access to justice,” Sam Wolo, who followed cases of men who are detained falsely, said.

“If Cummings is interested in justice,” he said, “he should know that some men are accused of rape and are detained for years; therefore, the Senate’s action is humane.”

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