… Newspaper Publisher Says
The Publisher of the National Chronicle Newspaper Philipbert Brown says his constitutional rights as a citizen of Liberia have been violated by the government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, through Police Director C. Clarence Massaquoi.
In a communication dated September 8, 2014, addressed to Justice Minister Christiana Tah, citing the violations, the Publisher accused Police Director Massaquoi of sizing his liberty and prohibiting his travel to the United States on grounds of an ongoing investigation into the Chronicle publication by the police.
He explained that his trip to the United States is purposely to award scholarships to Liberian athletes residing in that country (United States) for the summer Olympic Games slated for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
With reference to the business entity principle, Mr. Browne said “that the business is a separate and distinct entity from its owner, which can be sued or sued.”
Brown said Liberia is a founding member of the United Nations, which is also signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights under the United Nations Chatter of human and individuals rights which provides under Article 13 (1 and 2) that: “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state…everyone has the right to leave any country including his own, and return to his country.”
Publisher Brown also argued that Article 15 (a) of the 1986 Constitution provides that “…no one shall not be curtailed, restricted or enjoined by government save during an emergency declared in accordance with this constitution.”
He told Minister Tah that he’s perplexed and opposed to being used as a “person of interest” in helping the police to put together the ‘jug-saw puzzle’ of the interim government, which has made the pages of the local dailies, bi-and tri-weekly, online and international media outlets.
“Madam Minister, pleased be informed that the Director of Police has no authority to curtail my movement under the 1986 constitution of the Republic of Liberia. That right the Director of Police has given unto himself is only given to the authorities of the courts of Liberia, after a due process of law,” the Publisher said in a letter addressed to Minister Tah.
He informed the justice minister that the police director has no authority to curtail his movement under the 1986 constitution because the right that the Director of Police has given unto himself is only given to the authorities of the Courts of Liberia, after due process of law.
Publisher Brown explained that since the quarantining of West Point, the police have neither called him nor requested an interrogation session with him and his lawyers.
Moreover, he added “It has been over two weeks since the last interrogation session with the police; so it beats my imagination when the Director of Police speaks convincingly about an ongoing police investigation which police interrogators have shown no interest in.”
“Madam Minister, the illegal and unauthorized invasion, seizure and arrest of two National Chronicle’s computers and senior staffers without any warrant duly issued by a court of competent jurisdiction is a violation of Article 21 (b) of the 1986 Constitutional, which expressly states: “No person shall be subject to search or seizure of his person or property , whether on a criminal charge or for any or affirmation, specifically identifying the person or place to be searched and stating the object of the search; provided, however, that a search or seizure shall be permissible without a search warrant where the arresting authorities act during the commission of a crime or in hot pursuit of a person who has committed crime.”
However, in a letter dated September 8, 2014, addressed to Mr. Brown, Police Director Massaquoi confirmed denying the Publisher’s right to travel. He said the presence of Mr. Brown in the country is vital to the conclusion of the investigation.
“In consideration of the above you are advised not to leave the bailiwick of the Republic in order to assist in concluding in the interrogation,” the Police Director concluded.