Cllr. Esther Seton Cee, president of the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) has said that she is worried about the manner and form of releasing rapist who had been convicted by the court, on Presidential clemency.
According to Cllr. Cee, this is something that is a contributing factor to the increase of rape cases throughout the country.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf last December, as part of her Presidential clemency, released from jail over 10 persons. Among them were 81, 80 and 75-year old men, who were convicted of statutory rape.
The President said her decision to release those prisoners was based on their poor health.
They were released from detention at several prisons, in Lofa, Bong, Maryland and Grand Gedeh Counties.
But, addressing journalists at her Broad Street office yesterday, Cllr. Cee said, though the Constitution gives the Presidency the right to grant executive clemency to convicted criminals, they should not consider rapists, murderers and armed robbers for clemency.
“The President should not grant clemency to any rapist. They should serve their sentences. If it is life, let them serve it. Let them serve their punishment and prison term,” Cllr. Cee stressed.
“Why release someone who has been convicted of raping a little child?” she asked.
She stated that if convicted rapists are made to serve their full term in prison, it would send a clear signal that rape is intolerable and those in the habit of violating young girls and women will not go unpunished.
”They should not be pardoned. Let them face the full weight of our law.” Besides, we are prepare to offer free legal services to the Ministry of Justice to help in the prosecution of rapists throughout the country,” the AFELL leader pledged.
Also commenting on the rape and subsequent death of little Ma Musu Fofana, the AFELL executive said, the act needs to condemned, describing it as” barbaric and heinous.”
The victim was raped and brutally murdered on Sunday, January 18, in the Moulton corner community, Brewerville by allegedly by a 40 year-old man identified as Musa Kanneh.
“We are demanding a speedy and thoroughly investigation of the defendant and have him forwarded to court for prosecution, so as to dispel any notion that children and women are abused with impunity in the country,” declared Cllr. Cee.
“Every girl child and woman will continue to be at risk, because many times after the trial, the rape perpetrators are sent to jail and after one or two years they are released. Afterward, they reappear in the society and walk freely.”