Human Rights Activist Vandarlark Patricks is due to appear at Criminal Court “A” at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia where he is being prosecuted by the government of Liberia for sedition and criminal libel.
Patricks, the National Director of SURE-Liberia, also referred to as the Campaigners for Change – a social and political rights group – was indicted in February after he accused the government/President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of being involved in eliminating political opponents and government critics just after the gruesome death of the ex-managing director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), Harry Greaves Jr., whose corpse was found naked near a beach on January 31.
Patricks’s case with the government was suspended as a result of his ill health, but he is back in the country after seeking medical attention in Ghana and South Africa.
State lawyers had feared that Patricks was finding means to escape Liberia and seek political asylum abroad, especially in the United States.
Speaking at a press conference in Monrovia yesterday at his organization’s headquarters, Patricks said he is not a coward that would run away from justice. “I want to tell you that I will be going to court tomorrow (today) and i will be there to defend whatsoever I have said,” Patricks, who said his statements were misconstrued, said.
“What we said in that statement was very clear and we stand by our actions and every letter including the period mentioned in the communication,” he said, reiterating that government should take full responsibility for the deaths of eminent Liberians, including the late LPRC boss, because it is the constitutional mandate of the government to protect lives and properties under its jurisdiction.
Patricks said that he has not fully recuperated but had to come back to face the law, a promise he made to the Liberian people and his legal team who continues to be the beacon of hope for him. “This is the most honorable thing to do and that is why I’m here. I had the option to say that I’m not yet well and so I’m unable to come, but I had to come.”
The Campaigner for Change boss debunked reports that his medical trips, which took him to Ghana and South Africa, were paid for by the government of Liberia. “This report is a blatant lie and it comes from the belly of the devil,” noting that he would not compromise with a Nobel
Laureate who finds pleasure in subjecting the masses to perpetual suffering as a result of ills in her government.
He lauded Ireland based internationally acclaimed human rights organization, Frontline Defenders, who along with other partners shouldered his medical expenses as well as travels and accommodation. “I want to be grateful to Frontline Defenders and other partners who stood by me,” he said, while also lauding the religious communities, who he said had been in prayers with him.
He said he was diagnosed with sepses, a blood related sickness and sores in his stomach.
Patricks accused riot officers of harming him with an instrument while being taken to the Monrovia Central Prison, before seeking medical treatment abroad after his lawyer Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe secured his cash bond of US$3,000.
Meanwhile, Criminal Court “A” few months ago granted a travel permit to Patricks, who many considered as a self-proclaimed advocate, to seek medical examination abroad. This was after he complained of health problems after he claimed to have been manhandled by state security personnel.
He sought permission to travel out of Liberia for medical check up because the country has no MRI machine, except a non-functional CT-Scan machine. MRI is Magnetic Resonance Imaging that uses a large magnet, radio waves and computer to create a detailed cross-sectional image of a patient’s internal organs and structure; while CT-Scan is a Computerized Tomography that uses a computer that takes data from several X-ray images of structures inside the body and convert them into pictures on a monitor.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sampson K. Arzo Acquoi told a court hearing on Monday, 28 March that he was aware of a “currently non-functional” CT-Scan at the Jackson F. Doe Memorial Refferal Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County.