“Witchcraft is Not Prosecutable under Liberian Laws”

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Atty. Neal: "AFFEL condemns in the strongest terms, this barbaric and inhumane act against the women.”

-Says AFELL, condemns inhumane treatment of women in Sinoe County

A group of lawyers organized to advocate for the promotion, protection and advancement of the rights of women, has condemned the recent inhumane treatment by citizens against two women in Sinoe County.

The leadership of the Association of Female Lawyers (AFELL) said it received, with utter shock and dismay, news of the savage and barbaric treatment of the two females, who were stripped naked and paraded for reportedly accused of being witches, in southeastern Liberia.

AFFEL said news emanating from Sinoe County indicated that primitive action of perpetrators took place shortly after charges of witchcraft were leveled against the women. The incident was captured in a video, which went viral on social media. The video shows the ladies stripped naked, brutalized and paraded in public on allegations of being witches following accusations of kidnapping a baby.

AFFEL said witchcraft is not ‘prosecutable’ under Liberian laws, which is why trial by ordeal, another harmful customary practice, was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

In a statement issued Thursday, February 28, 2019, under the signature of the president, Attorney Vivian D. Neal, AFELL argued that, “It appears that some of our people are not aware that traditional and customary practices, which infringe upon the fundamental rights of individuals, for example presumption of innocence, right to security and integrity of the person, etc., are subordinate and inconsistent with the Constitution of Liberia.”

AFELL states further that the action taken against the women is a classic example of entrenched discrimination against women in society and, moreover, it highlights the fact that mob justice is still being practiced in the country.

“In no uncertain terms, AFELL condemns in the strongest terms this barbaric and inhumane act against the women. We therefore call on the government to bring to justice, without the least delay, the perpetrators of this uncivilized and diabolical act to book. This act is totally inconsistent with the status of a civilized nation in the 21st century,” AFELL said.

AFFEL is a non-profit, non-governmental organization duly incorporated on February 24, 1994, under Liberian laws, with accreditation from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, with a direct response to endure advocacy for the rights and promotion for the advancement of women, children and indigent persons.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I stand with AFELL to the fullest to ensure that the individuals associated with this disgraceful act are brought to justice. As a nation, we must send a clear message that such an act is completely unacceptable.

  2. For sure, crime is crime. Whether crime is committed through the use witchcraft or not, all criminal acts must and should be dealt with to the fullest.

    There’s too much suffering in Liberia. What’s being done by the juju people to help alleviate suffering in Liberia? Or is there a difference between juju and witchcraft?

    Why parade a female in the nude? By parading a woman in the nude, does that eliminate witchcraft? We all know what women look like. Women come in many shapes and sizes. But one thing is undeniable: All women are beautiful!

    No. We need to change. A change is an absolute must.

  3. I, too, join the chorus of rights advocates in condemning the barbarism meted out to the two women in this incident by the people of that “Southeastern town.” When I read the story a fortnight ago, I shuddered over the level of savagery and naked cruelty.

    At the same time, AFEEL needs to up its game perhaps one notch in order to represent the facts in this matter. For instance, when AFEEL propounded inter alia, that “…witchcraft is not prosecutable under Liberian laws,” I am left wondering whether such categorical statement is oblivious of Customary Laws in Liberia, in which jurisdictions witchcraft is practiced and therefore prosecutorial under the customs of those settings?

    Once again, the treatment meted out to the two ladies was uncivilized and unacceptable. Under no circumstance should anyone be treated in such cruel fashion, especially based on mere suspicion! I bet you 2 males suspected of “witchcraft” would not be treat in such debased and humiliating manner.

    So my point being that while “witchcraft” may be antiquated in half of Liberia, it is still buoyant in the other half courtesy of superstition, powered by illiteracy! Just in case this skipped AFEEL.

  4. Great! Nice to hear this but are we following events in the country? Over the last seven years, some so-called witch hunters or witch doctors have been raging havoc in Nimba County. They were in Mehnla, Doumpa, Zuaplay, Fleedin Lepula, and many other towns. Did anyone in government, both national and local hear about them? In some of these cases, the accused are literally tortured and sometimes given unknown substance to drink. Check these out if you are really serious.

  5. Thanks very much for the information you’ve provided, Sahn.

    Some of us in the diaspora are unaware of what has happened in Nimba in recent weeks. Maybe the nation’s leading newspapers have not been notified. In any case, something has got to be done.

    I am stunned, frankly. Where’s the Superintendent of Nimba? The Senators? The Representatives of Nimba? The cops? How could something as egregious as that occur in Nimba without something being done? It’s hard to believe that no action has been taken.

  6. We need to have acts of satanic witch craft prosecutable under Liberian laws. But meanwhile those who carried out such a primitive lawlessness against those women should be prosecuted.

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