After failing to secure a US$2,500 bond, the Monrovia City Court on Wednesday forwarded a political party youth leader, Jefferson T. Korjee, to the Monrovia Central Prison to await trial on charges of aggravated assault and kidnapping.
Korjee is the National Youth Chairman of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), whose political leader is Amb. George M. Weah.
Party members created a spectacle trying to raise the bond in time to prevent Korjee from going to jail. A dramatic effort by Korjee’s lawyers and other executive members of the party including Representatives Acarous Gray and Thomas Fallah of Montserrado County Districts 8 and 5 respectively could not muster the bond fee of US$2,500.
They were expected to file the bond before 3 p.m. because under the State of Emergency, every court throughout the country is ordered to be closed by that time instead of the normal 6 p.m. closing time.
Because party members delayed in obtaining the bond fee, Magistrate James Dudu ordered Korjee’s detention at the Monrovia Central Prison.
Previously Korjee had spent two nights at the headquarters of the Liberia National Police (LNP) before he was charged with aggravated assault and kidnapping. His charge is based on a complaint from one Gbeh Salinto Montgomery said to be the deputy national secretary for youth affairs of the CDC.
Montgomery accused Korjee and another CDC executive, Mulbah Morlu of stripping and flogging him. He alleged that the beating caused him several bodily wounds.
Morlu did not appear before the court on Wednesday and the reason for his absence was not disclosed.
Interestingly, at Wednesday’s hearing, a group of young people believed to be followers of Korjee and the party was seen holding placards in their hands, protesting against his imprisonment and describing it as “politically motivated.”
They were, however, prevented from entering the courtroom by officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU) of the LNP. The PSU officers managed to restore calm at the Temple of Justice before they drove Korjee away to his prison cell.
Montgomery recounted that the alleged flogging happened on October 21 at the CDC party headquarters during one of their meetings.
Montgomery alleged that Korjee and Morlu harmed him because of his support for the party’s former chairman, Mr. George Solo.
“On the morning of October 21 at about 3 am, I received a call from Korjee and he said that he was disappointed in me because my car was parked in the fence of Solo,” Montgomery explained in his allegation to police.
Montgomery said his response to Korjee was that they as youth leaders needed to do something to maintain peace in the party.
Montgomery further recounted that after the conversation he called one Habakkuk Wommie who is the vice chairman for International Affairs of the party’s Youth League.
It was Wommie who suggested for them to meet at the party headquarters to discuss the matter, Montgomery claims.
“While we were in the discussion a young man threatened me not to leave the area,” the CDC’s deputy youth secretary said.
“While I was arguing with the young man, a group of other young men, including Korjee, Morlu and Habakkuk grabbed me and took me to the back of the headquarters. They put me into a small room where I met another man identified as Tetoe, whose two legs were tied,” Montgomery further recounted.
Montgomery said it was in the room that Morlu, Korjee and Habakkuk stripped and flogged him.
“They claimed that they were acting upon the instructions of Amb. George Weah,” Montgomery alleged.
“After beating me,” Montgomery added, “they started questioning me about several issues relating to my alliance with George Solo.”
“Who’s supporting George Solo in the government?” he quoted one of the questions his tormentors asked him.
“They threatened that if I didn’t tell them what they wanted to know, they would kill me because Amb. Weah had asked them to kill me for going against his interest,” Montgomery claimed regarding Amb. Weah’s alleged involvement in the plot.
Montgomery further claimed that Morlu and Korjee promised to release him only if he agreed to lie on himself in a video recording.
“They intimidated me into declaring on the recording that I sexually harassed a little girl, which was the reason why the angry mob attacked me,” Montgomery said in his testimony to police.
He further alleged that Korjee and Morlu also threatened to release the video if he tried to disclose anything to the media about his mistreatment.
Police said during the investigation that the accused, Korjee, Morlu and Habakkuk denied the allegations.