The incarceration of Unity Party Secretary General Mohammed Ali without evidence was a blunder by the Liberia National Police which the opposition Collaborating Political Party (CPP) said was a witch-hunt, and was buttressed by the swift action of Minister of Justice, Frank Musa Dean, who yesterday ordered with immediate effect the release of Mr. Ali.
“Until the evidence, when produced, is reviewed and a determination made by the Attorney General, the LNP is ordered to release Mr. Ali,” Minister Dean told a local media thereby making Ali to be a free man after the authorities of the Liberia National Police flexed muscles at him for a Facebook post for which the police accused him of responsibility for petrol bombs that exploded at the Headquarters of the National Election Commission and the residence of Justice Joseph Nagbe in recent times.
“Consistent with section 22.2 (b) of the New Executive Law, which requires the Minister of Justice to institute all legal proceedings necessary for law enforcement”, the Minister said. He called on the Liberia National Police to, on March 25, 2021 produce the proper evidence to support charges levied against Mr. Mo Ali which bordered on terrorism, Criminal Attempt to Commit Murder, Arson and Terrorist Threat.
Authorities of the LNP invited Mr. Ali at the Headquarters in connection with the Facebook Post, and the Unity Party Secretary General was accompanied to attend the police invitation by the leadership of the Collaborating Political Parties and Unity Party stalwarts, sympathizers and well-wishers.
According to an eyewitness partisan who followed Mr. Ali at the Police Headquarters, the Unity Party SG and lawyer were questioned and both answered all questions and responded to all inquiries from the police through a written submission as was agreed.
“Mr. Ali was asked to fill out a questionnaire, which he did. The investigators left us in the conference room; after waiting for more than 30 minutes, they came back and stated that they wanted him to fill out an additional questionnaire. We asked them for it, but they stated that it wasn’t ready, they needed to develop it,” the witness of the Ali investigation by the police explained.
The witness further explained, “We requested that since it wasn’t ready, they should reschedule the meeting and as we did the other day, we would bring him back when they were ready or have the questionnaire ready.”
“At that point, the investigators left to consult and after waiting for more than an hour without their return or anyone coming back to us, we decided to go for lunch. But were blocked and prevented from leaving by armed police; is this an arrest? We’ve asked them to either charge Mo Ali, arrest him, or let us bring him back when they are ready. Yet, we’ve been held here and blocked by armed police without knowing what’s going on,” the scenario that characterized the arrest was disclosed by the eyewitness.
Mr. Ali has been undergoing police investigation over two Facebook posts which the police believe could be linked to the arson attacks on the home of Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe and the headquarters of the National Elections Commission. On March 1, Ali posted to Facebook: “Dear National Elections Commission (NEC), we understand the ploy. But try it and you will see what is gonna be the end result”.
Upon attending to the police invitation on Monday after being declared a wanted man by the police due to his failure to have appeared last Friday, the police introduced another Facebook post made on March 4 in which Mr. Ali reportedly stated, “I don’t believe in the integrity of the Supreme Court. Most of the justices there have been corrupted. Justice Nagbe is a hardcore tribalist.”
It can be recalled Mo Ali’s Lawyer and the Liberia National Police last week Monday engaged in War of Words concerning a statement made by Police Spokesman Moses Carter declaring Mo Ali “a wanted man” for failing to honor the police invitation on two occasions, but Ali’s lawyer, Cllr Finley Karngar, rebuked the order when he told a local online television that Mr. Ali has done nothing to warrant his arrest.
The war of words between the two started when Police Spokesman, Moses Carter hosted journalists at the police headquarters where he said Mr. Ali flouted police invitation. Carter said Mr. Ali was invited and was expected to have appeared before the police to clarify a Facebook post he made early March which he (carter) noted had threatened the National Elections Commission.
Carter reasoned that days after Mo Ali’s Facebook post, the National Elections Commission was attacked with petrol bombs, which is presently of concern to state security. He maintained that while the police respect the health of Mr. Ali, the police will arrest him anywhere he is found if it turns out that he is not sick, that his failure to honor the police invitation is deliberate.
But Cllr. Karngar decisively reacted to the statement made by Mr. Carter, wondering what would be the crime for which Mr. Ali is to be arrested by the police. “It is laughable! It is extremely laughable,” Cllr. Karngar said. He explained that indeed, he went to the police station to have a conversation with Mr. Patrick Sudue, Inspector General (IG) of the Liberia National but the police chief was not present.
Cllr Karngar indicated that declaring Ali “a wanted man not only endangers the life of the man, but it also endangers the lives of his family.” He maintained that to declare a man wanted must be for a cause. “You must have a charge against him. Did the police say Ali did something for which he is wanted?” he asked
Cllr. Karngar then noted that Mr. Ali does not have to be in their physical possession before the police charges him, adding. “Let them go to Court. If Mr. Ali did something for which he is wanted, the police should proceed to court or process an indictment against him and then Mo Ali gets arrested.
The Unity Party in its reaction to the police debacle against Ali said in a press release signed by Mrs. Cornelia Kruah-Togba National Assistant Secretary General for Press, Publicity and Outreach, that it was stunned when at about 2pm on March 19, four hours after receiving the letter from Mr. Ali’s lawyers, the same police declared Mr. Mohammed Ali “Wanted” and ordered his arrest for refusing to show up at the LNP headquarters.
“The Unity Party believed that the action of police contradicts the laws of Liberia and the rights of Mr. Ali, a law abiding citizen; this seems to be an attempt to intimidate and prosecute members of the opposition who have objectively spoken against socio-political ills as well as the censorship of views of the opposition through intimidation (as is being attempted in this case)”, the party stated.