Liberty Party Reacts to Dumoe’s Arrest – Says his right to free speech is violated; Demands his immediate release
MONROVIA – In the wake of the arrest of a stalwart of the opposition Liberty Party (LP), Mr. Meneipalei Dumoe by state security yesterday, the LP says it is deeply troubled by the arrest and subsequent searching of the home of Mr. Dumoe by agents of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the National Security Agency (NSA).
According to a Liberty Party press release last evening, about two days ago, Mr. Maneipakei Dumoe, an Executive Committee Member of the Liberty Party allegedly wrote a statement on his facebook page asking the Government of Liberia to give the people of Montserrado AK-47 instead of food aid.
“After numerous concerns from his friends that the statement could be misinterpreted, and based on invitation from the Liberian National Police, Mr Dumoe promptly clarified his statement, indicating that it was “metaphorical” and not an attempt to instigate any conflict. His clarification has been widely published on his Facebook Page and several media outlets,” the LP release stated.
The LP said, upon the invitation of the LNP, Mr. Dumoe was later accompanied by his lawyer, Cllr. Finley Karnga, to answer questions in respect to his statement asking the government to give the people AK-47 instead of food aid.
“To our utmost surprise, we have been informed that Mr. Dumoe has been arrested and detained against the interventions of his lawyer and sent to jail. In a live interview following the arrest of Mr. Dumoe, the spokesperson of the LNP informed the public that no weapons were found in the home of Mr. Dumoe after the search by the LNP and NSA. However, Mr. Moses Carter went on to say that Mr. Dumoe will be kept in detention for 48 hours,” the LP release stated.
The Liberty party further indicated that it wishes to inform the government that the arrest of Mr. Dumoe despite his clarification that his statement was merely “metaphorical” is a flagrant violation of his right to free speech and herewith demand his immediate release.
“That a whole government would be run on mere impulse is a troubling sign of Liberia being on a path to reliving our sad past; something that every well-meaning Liberian must stand up to prevent. From the plain text of Mr. Dumoe’s comment, even without clarification, it is obvious that his call for the government to give the people AK-47 is something that no government would yield to. We assert that Mr. Dumoe’s statement is protected speech in that it was rhetorical in nature and did not inflict injury nor was intended to incite an immediate breach of the peace,” said the Liberty Party.
The LP said it is further saddened by the fact that the spokesperson of the LNP would have no understanding of a fundamental principle of constitutional rights and criminal justice which requires the police to hold a suspect only for probable cause or reason to believe that said suspect poses a threat to the safety of others.
“Mr. Carter and his bosses at the LNP must be told that holding Maniepake Dumoe merely because the law provides for the holding of a suspect for at most 48 hours pending a formal charge is a violation of his rights. Mr. Dumoe must be released to his Lawyers since it has been established that his statement was not a rally for rebellion against the state and no weapons were found in his home to constitute a probable cause for his detention. The fact that Mr. Dumoe voluntarily turned himself in is a clear manifestation of his commitment to upholding the peace of Liberia,” said the LP.
The opposition political party recalled that few months ago, a group of Former Rebels openly threatened to establish a Grand Kru Defense Force to defend Mr. George Weah.
“Subsequently, the Chairman of the CDC in a leaked audio branded the president as being a promiscuous person who sexually harasses women for jobs and diverts monies intended for the country to his personal use. A government that takes so seriously a harmless statement from Mr. Dumoe would have immediately arrested and prosecuted these former rebels who made such inflammatory comments. Unlike Dumoe, these individuals are serial killers who have the capacity to effectuate their plan. A serious government would have also arrested Mr. Morlu for accusing the president of economic sabotage and sexual harrassment of women. If the Government of Liberia takes facebook comments seriously as it endeavors to have the public believe, it would have by now arrested some diehard and well-known CDCians who have posted on facebook threatening to kill prominent members of the oppositions, including Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, Senator Nyonblee-Karnga Lawrence, etcetera. Unlike Dumoe whose facebook post has been established to be a mere rhetorical statement, these individuals made clear and specific threats on the lives of prominent individuals, the opposition LP stated.
The LP, in closing noted its regret that the government would divert the meager resources of our country towards such a trivial matter at a time we are faced with a national health crisis.
“The imminent and present danger to the peace and security of our country is the gross incompetence of the regime and not a harmless facebook post from Mr. Dumoe. Once again, we call on the Government of Liberia to immediately release Mr. Dumoe and turn over to him all personal effects seized from his home, including Liberty Party documents. We urge all of our partisans to remain calm as we follow-up this matter to its legal conclusion. Should the Government of Liberia fail to yield to this call, our options are opened and would include seeking the interventions of the international community,” the LP demanded.