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…As Court Set Seven Defendants Free

riotersFifty-two of the 59 defendants charged with multiple crimes including armed robbery in the aftermath of the destruction at AcelorMittal in Yekepa, Nimba County, are expected to face prosecution as state prosecutors have already entered a plea of nolle prosequoi on behalf of seven of the accused.

The seven defendants nolle prosequoi will serve as state witnesses that would enable Government for a successful prosecution of its case.

The Government of Liberia issued a writ of arrest against 59 persons on July 9 following a riot at Zolowee Mountain in Sanniquellie Mah District in Nimba County, which left over US$40,000,000 million worth of Mittal Steel property damaged.

Forty-one of the 59 defendants detained at the headquarters of the Liberia National Police (LNP) were released last week after their lawyers filed a petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus against the Government of Liberia to produce their living bodies in court.

Records available to this paper revealed that on July 3, 2014, Yeh Brown, Emmanuel Torbor, Saye Jebole, Patrick Woaker as well as other defendants unlawfully armed themselves with single barrel guns and broke into the offices of the company, took away computers, computers parts and other office equipment, caterpillar spare parts, and trucks spare parts.

The court records noted that the defendants did not stop there, but allegedly set the company’s vehicles and the Bee River Bridge ablaze which estimated cost is over US$200,000,000, thereby committing the crime of arson.

State prosecutors averred in the document that in continuation of the defendants’ illegal and unlawful acts, they were found in possession of several firearms, which they allegedly used to exchange gunfire with officers of the Liberia National Police in which Government claimed that some of the police sustained bullet wounds.

Besides the single barrel guns, according to the court’s precept, the defendants allegedly armed themselves with other deadly weapons such as, cutlasses and spears purposely of committing a state of lawlessness.

The court record stated that the defendants with the intent to commit murder, they allegedly discharged their weapons at the officers of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) of the Liberia National Police, who had gone to the county to restore law and order.

Some legal practitioners have predicted that if the defendants are tried and found guilty of the crimes, they would be sentenced to life imprisonment.

The defendants are represented by Cllrs. Tiawan S. Gongloe and Yeimei Quaqua Gbeisay, while the Government is represented by all state prosecutors of the Ministry of Justice.