Alleged Eight Witchcraft Detainees In Sinoe Plead For Speedy Trial

Photo: Getty Images (Flash back: Woman being handcuffed)

Eight detainees who were transferred from Sinoe County to Grand Bassa County for trial and are behind bar at the Buchanan Central Prison have alarmed that since their arrest six months ago, they are yet to be tried.

The defendants, all of whom are male, are charged with murder, gang rape, aggravated assault, and criminal facilitation in connection to the humiliation of three ladies accused of witchcraft activities Sinoe.

They include: Swen Pyne, Tweh Kelgbeh, Dennis Nimely, Anthony Karmoh as well as Teah Gmawlue, Victor Solo, Moses Solo and Joseph Chieh.

The eight defendants made the disclosure to LINA Correspondent recently during a visit by Grand Bassa County Public Defender Paul Philip Jarvan to the Buchanan Central Prison.

The popular “witchcraft case” in Nuampo-Johnny Town, Gbahyen Statutory District in Sinoe County, was transferred from Greenville to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County for trial in June 2019.

The three ladies, it can be recalled, were arrested by some locals in the town of Nuampo on December 12, 2018, stripped naked, paraded on the streets and beaten. One of the women identified as Willette Nyenwlah later died from injuries sustained.

Following the development, five of those currently in prison were arrested in December 2018, while the other two were picked up in early January. The eighth defendants were arrested by the Police in Greenville, Sinoe County.

They were indicted early this year by the Grand Jury of the 3rd Judicial Circuit Court in Greenville, the provincial capital of Sinoe County.

One of the defendants, confirmed to the Liberia News Agency and Public Defender Cllr. Paul Philip Jarvan at the Upper Buchanan prison that he was in the video circulated on social media, but clarified that his role as an “influential leader” was to prevent  others from harming the ladies.

The remaining seven men denied being on the scene when the ladies were mobbed.

“Some of us were picked up from our homes,” they said, with others stating that due to a demand from their Golden Veroleum Liberia bosses, they had gone to the Greenville police headquarters to distance themselves from a list which they claimed was submitted to the GVL administration linking them to the crime.

The transfer of the trial to the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court in Buchanan was in response to a request made by the Prosecution, who claimed that trying the defendants in Greenville, Sinoe County could spark up local prejudice that could hamper the judicial proceeding.

The defendants told LINA that they are workers of Golden Veroleum Liberia; adding that the situation has rendered them unemployed, thus causing their families to experience hardship.

Meanwhile, Cllr. Jarvan encouraged them to remain calm until the legal process kicks-off.

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About Cholo Brooks 13351 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.