LIBERIA: Supreme Court Frees 4, Sentences 9 To Life In Mercenary Case

By Ballah M. Kollie/LINA

mercenaries4_0The Supreme Court has affirmed the life sentence of nine of the 13 defendants involved in a case of mercenary activities.

The nine convicts are Nyazee Barway, alias Joseph Dweh; Morris K. Cole, alias Edward Cole/General Girl; Steven Gloto. Alias Rambo or Ninja; Emmanuel Saymah, alias Trainer; Moses Baryee, alias Moses Sarpee; Sam Ofori Diah, Alfred Bobby James, Jr., alias Bobby Sarpee; Jacob Saydee and Mohammed Massaquoi.

The court has, however, ordered the immediate release from further detention of co-defendants Isaac Taryon, Prince Youty, James Lee Cooper and Sam Tarley alias Bull Dog, for lack of sufficient evidence to convict them of the crime.

The high court opinion read by Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor grew out of an appeal and a motion for retrial filed by lawyers representing the legal interest of all 13 defendants in the case.

It can be recalled that the defendants were arrested in 2012 because of a complaints by the government of Ivory Coast that some Liberians did crossing over and fight alongside forces loyal to former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo in 2010.

In its opinion, the court said it duly held the voluntary statements of the defendants made during their investigation by the police and in the presence of their counsels connected them to the crime of mercenarism.

The high court also cited the “uncorroborated testimonies and general denials which it said are insufficient to warrant the reversal of the judgment of conviction brought against them by the lower court”

In a frustrated mode, Grand Gedeh Superintendent Peter Solo said they have all reason to respect the decision of the nation’s highest court but want President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to please grant the convicts’ clemency.

The case was tried at Criminal Court “D” where the accused were adjudge guilty and sentenced to life in prison by Judge Emery Paye, leading to an appeal to the Supreme Court.

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About Cholo Brooks 16091 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.