Henry Costa, a radio talk show host in Liberia was on March 21, 2014, arrested, detained at the Monrovia Central Prison and charged with “Terrorist Threat, Menacing, and Criminal Coercion”. Reporting the incident, The Analyst newspaper in Liberia said the arrest was based on a complaint filed against Costa by Fombah Sirleaf, Director of National Security Agency and son of the country’s President.
The newspaper said Costa’s lawyer, Sayma Syrenius Cephus, confirmed the arrest and added that his client was arrested and charged with terrorism following a suit Fumba Sirleaf filed on February 26, alleging that Costa had challenged him to a fight on his show – The Costa Show on Hott FM.
The show which is very critical of government, institutions and individuals was said to have been interrupted that day by management of Hott FM and he was forced to exit the station. Before his arrest, Costa was set to start the show on another station Voice FM on March 24.
The MFWA’s partner organization in Liberia, the Center for Media Studies and Peace-building (CEMESP), has however reported that Costa was on March 24, temporarily released on bail after his lawyers secured a bond of an undisclosed amount. According to CEMESP, Costa on his release said, “It has not been an easy thing, but to know that you stand with us matters more than anything else. It has given me and us a renewed conviction that what indeed we are doing has a purpose because it is appreciated by you, you gave your time, you were in the sun, you were out there for us and I am just overwhelmed, what I have seen has given me the conviction that indeed the majority of the people of this country mean good.”
The case continues at the Monrovia City Court and Costa is to appear at every hearing with his lawyers.
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