By ANTHONY IZAGUIRRE, Associated Press |
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Liberian accused of war crimes during the country’s first civil war falsely told an immigration official he was being persecuted in his homeland so he could enter the U.S., a federal prosecutor said Tuesday at the start of his fraud trial.
Mohammed Jabbateh, 51, is charged with immigration fraud and perjury over accusations that he lied about his history as a high-ranking member of Liberian rebel groups when he was seeking asylum and residency in the U.S. nearly two decades ago.
“You can’t commit heinous war crimes in your home country, then come to this country and try and stay here and lie about those crimes,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Nelson Thayer Jr., who rifled off snippets of stories from witnesses who claim to have seen Jabbateh commit or order his fighters to kill civilians and conscript child soldiers and sex slaves.
Jabbateh, known as “Jungle Jabbah,” had been living outside Philadelphia and was arrested last year. He stared blankly at the jury with a clenched fist over his mouth as Thayer relayed a witness’ story about how he ordered his soldiers to strip a man naked and leave him tied up on the street for complaining that his rebels stole rice from his son.
Source: Associated Press