The former ruling Unity Party has sharply reacted to the action of the government through the Liberia national Police declaring its Secretary General, Mr. Mohammed Ali “wanted” and ordered arrested to clarify the “motive and intent” of a facebook post emanating from Mr. Ali about what he said would happen if the National Election Commission carries on what he termed a ploy. The facebook post, dated on March 1, 2021 referenced by the police stated “Dear National Elections Commission, we understand the ploy. But try it and you will see what is gonna be the end result.
Narrating the ordeal of its chief scribe, the party in its press release signed by Mrs. Cornelia Kruah-Togba National Assistant Secretary General for Press, Publicity and Outreach, said the government has alleged that consequent of Mr. Ali’s post, there have been incidents of petrol bombs thrown at the residence of Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe and the headquarters of the National Elections Commission for which they are inviting him to clarify the “motive and intent” of his post. She said On March 19, 2021, representation was made on behalf of Mr. Ali by his lawyers, Cllrs. Findley Y. Karngar and Moifee Kanneh, through a communication duly delivered to the office of the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police requesting an excuse from the Friday, March 19 invite due to the ailment of the Secretary General, with a commitment to accompany him to the LNP’s headquarters on Monday, March 22, 2021 at 10am.
The party said 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 after receiving invite twice according to Mr. Moses Carter, LNP Spokesman which the party said is false. The party said contrary to what the LNP said, Mr. Ali was invited only once via a phone text message, an invitation he honored through his lawyers.
“The Unity Party believes that the action of police contradicts the laws of Liberia and the rights of Mr. Ali, a law abiding citizen; this seem 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.
The party made some legal references and said according to Chapter 1.5 of the Penal Law of Liberia, “No conduct constitutes an offense unless it is a crime or infraction under [the penal law] or another statute of Liberia”. The release said that therefore, the government cannot attempt to arrest Mr. Ali over a Facebook post without due process to establish any link between his post and that which the government alleges.
The former ruling party and a major constituent party within the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) said further that In addition, Chapter 2.2.1 of the Criminal Procedure Law of Liberia provides an accused person the right to representation by legal counsels. As in the case of Mr. Ali, the party continues, this representation requesting a postponement of the conference due to his medical condition was made by Cllr. Karngar and Cllr. Kenneh and therefore, the government cannot declare him “wanted” for failure to submit to their invitation when in fact he did through his lawyers as provided by law.
“A “Wanted Person” also known as a “Fugitive from Justice” is a person that is either convicted or accused of a crime and is hiding from law enforcement in order to avoid arrest. Has Mr. Ali been convicted or accused of a crime? No, he was invited to provide the motive and intent of a Facebook post. Is he hiding from law enforcement in order to avoid arrest? No, there was never a Writ of Arrest out for Mr. Ali and he was represented by his lawyers as allowed by the law”, the release was quoted further.
The party concluded in the release by stating that if the government of Liberia is convinced and has evidence that Mr. Mohammed Ali’s Facebook post of March 1 has any link to the crimes being alleged, it should go ahead and press charges against him in accordance with the law.