Gov’t Ignores INCHR Concerns

The Liberian Government has extradited Mr. Mohammed Yaelty Turay, a former Chief of Police in accordance with the Republic of Sierra Leone’s request rejecting the opinion of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights.

Mohammed Yaelty Turay was reportedly extradited by the Government of Liberia through national security on August 9, 2023, a day after the INCHR issued a statement cautioning the Liberian Government against complying with the Sierra Leonean government’s request.

The INHCR urged the Government of Liberia to take international human rights obligations into account as it considers the request, but inside sources told the New Republic Newspaper that Turay was handed over to the Sierra Leonean Government on Monday, August 7, 2023.

“While the INCHR recognizes extradition as a critical tool for enforcing criminal laws across borders, it is quick to remind the government that extradition may endanger the rights of those who have surrendered, who may face physical abuse, unfair trials, or excessive punishment at the hands of the requesting foreign legal system.”

Keeping in mind that both the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Republic of Liberia have signed various regional and international treaties, notably the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and the ECOWAS Convention.

The law states in part, “Extradition shall not be granted if the offense in respect of which extradition is requested is regarded as a political offense or as an offense connected with a political offense.”

“If there are substantial grounds for believing that a request for extradition for an ordinary criminal offense has been made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing a person on the basis of race, tribe, religion, nationality, political opinion, sex, or status.”

The INCHR release also referenced section 8.3 of Liberia’s Criminal Procedure Law and the Geneva Convention, to which Liberia is a signatory and ratifier, as reasons for its opposition to the Liberian government extraditing the former Sierra Leone Police Superintendent.

“Liberian Government and the Sierra Leone Government that would warrant the extradition of Mohammed Turay. INCHR hereby reminds the Government of Liberia that the 1969 OAU Convention governing the specific aspects of the refugee problem in Africa, Specifically Article 2(3) enjoins Liberia not to reject any person who on the basis of well-founded fear refuses to return to his country of origin,” the commission added.

Furthermore, the committee stated that it is illegal for Liberia to expel a person to return to his home country if his life, physical integrity, or liberty would be jeopardized. Furthermore, the 1957 UN Refugee Convention requires all signing States to not remove a refugee under these Conventions.

“INCHR also wishes to inform the Government of Liberia that the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights which Liberia ratified in 1983 states in Article 12(4) that a non-national legally admitted in a territory of a State Party to the present Charter may be expelled from it by operation of law, but in the instant case, there is no extradition agreement between Liberia and Sierra Leone.”

 

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