In the face of reports of pre-trial detentions at the opening of courts across Liberia, detainees at the Buchanan Central Prison have joined the chorus in crying out for speedy trial.
The inmates through their spokesperson, Momo Sherman, aged 32, said due to the unavailability of lawyers to defend their interests for speedy court trial, many of them have spent prolonged periods behind bars without trial.
Sherman was sentenced to life by the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court for his involvement in the gruesome murder of young Siah Tamba, who was picked up from a popular night club, “Garden Park,” in 2016 in Buchanan.
Sherman said failure to give detainees speedy trial is a violation of the rights of those who have been accused of committing crimes, adding, the law of Liberia says “a man is presumed innocent of a crime until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction.”
The spokesman of the inmates also told the Liberia News Agency that taking detainees to Court from the Prison Compound in most instances is still a challenge, citing lack of vehicle to transport the individuals involved, leaving them to walk a long distance to undergo trial. Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh and Cllr. Samuel Jacobs along with Cllr. Onesimus Barwon, all former County Attorneys of Grand Bassa, are on record for raising alarm about pre-trial detentions under the past administration.
The detainee spoke to LINA recently during the donation of five bags of 25kg rice along with assorted items to the inmates by a South Africa-based Church in Buchanan; the Enlightened Christian Gathering of Liberia through its Resident Prophet, Favor Shalom. In January this year, due to overcrowding, the Deputy Chief Superintendent of the Buchanan Central Prison, Mustapha Barsey, disclosed skin disease outbreak amongst the inmates that was put under control by nurses from the Liberian Government hospital in Buchanan.