The Center of Media Studies and Peace-building (CEMESP) has deplored the jailing of key opposition politician Mo Ali over a Facebook post which it alleges threatens national security.
Mo Ali, who is Secretary-General of the former ruling Unity Party, was arrested, charged, and sent to jail on Thursday afternoon March 25, 2021, after he appeared for questioning at the police headquarters for a second time.
He faces charges of “arson, criminal mischief, and attempted murder”, due to two Facebook posts which the government said are evidence of his involvement in the recent attacks on the National Elections Commission and the residence of Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe.
The Unity Party has released a statement in Monrovia denouncing the charges against its national secretary-general.
“We maintain that this is an effort by the Government to hold Mr. Ali as a political prisoner”.
The party said it will “resist” the charges, “using legal and political means”, adding “We do not believe that his Facebook posts, only, are sufficient evidence to charge Mr. Mo Ali for the above-mentioned crimes”.
On March 1, 2021, Ali posted on Facebook: “Dear National Elections Commission, we understand the ploy. But try it and you will see what is gonna be the result.”
Police spokesman Moses Carter later alleged that following 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 he was invited to clarify the “motive and intent” of his post.
He later on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, clarified: “my post was simply alluding to the fact that we will ensure the NEC (National Elections Commission) will face the full legal consequences should they implement a strategy intended to deny the certification of Senator-elect Brownie J. Samukai, thereby denying the people of Lofa County their choice of Senator.”
He also accused Joseph Nagbe, Associate justice of the Supreme Court of being a tribalist.
Tension has been building up around the Liberia National Police Headquarter in Monrovia as a handful of youthful partisans and supporters demand Ali’s unconditional release from prison.
The Police have issued no official statement on the arrest and imprisonment of the Unity Party Secretary-General.