Liberia ALERT: Human rights lawyer arrested again

Barely three weeks after his last abduction and torture, National Security officials have, once again, detained Human Rights Lawyer Tiawan Gongloe, and are reported to be subjecting him to cold-hearted torture.

Mr. Gongloe was arrested on Sunday, May 12, 2002 at the Roberts International Airport, after he had completed check-in procedures, and was waiting to embark an aircraft en route to Sierra Leone. He was part of the Carter Foundation Election Observer Team sent to monitor the May 14, 2002 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in Sierra Leone.

According to information received by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), two immigration officers informed Mr. Gongloe that he was not allowed to leave the country, and that they had been instructed to escort him to the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters, where he is presently incarcerated.

It would be recalled that three weeks ago, on April 24, agents of President Charles Taylor’s security outfit arrested Mr. Gongloe without charge and severely brutalised him, leading to his hospitalisation, ostensibly because of a speech he had delivered at a meeting of civil society groupings in neighbouring Guinea. He was released only after a writ of habeas corpus was filed against the government by human rights advocates in the country. Since his release, the government has on two occasions failed to appear in court to respond to the writ of habeas corpus.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) condemns this latest act of blatant abuse of the rights of Mr. Gongloe to the fundamental freedoms of expression, movement and association. The MFWA calls on the government of President Taylor to immediately release (or charge) Mr Gongloe; and to stop the persistent persecution of all other perceived political opponents in the country.

The MFWA also requests you to condemn the continued detention and torturing of Mr. Gongloe.

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