By Al-gblor Toweh
MONROVIA-April 30- The former head of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission-JPC and human rights activist, has condemned the Solicitor General’s statement against the media.
Cllr. Augustine Toe in a phone in discussion on OK FM radio station Thursday, said Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus’s statement was unacceptable and violated the fundamental rights of individuals.
“The statement by Mr. Solicitor General, that he will move in and cease the equipment of the media is arbitrary, unconstitutional, is hastily and is not in order. He needs to rethink,” he said.
Late Wednesday Cllr. Cephas threatened to shut down any news organ that reports fake news.
He said, “there is a state of emergency, what has happened under Article 87 [of the Constitution] is that all basic fundamental rights have been suspended.”
“Beginning today there will be no more warning, I repeat, I am the Solicitor General and Chief Prosecutor of this Republic, there will be no more warning. Any media institution that decides to spread fake news, we’ll just move in and seize your equipment, we’ll keep it and we’ll ask for the revocation of your license until after the coronavirus. And even after that, there will be a contest in court and it would be difficult for you to get your license,” Cephus, once a publisher of newspaper said.
He added, “under that same article, subsection ‘b’, the issue of free speech, by law and by the declaration that curtails of freedom of assembly effectively might also affect free speech. This government has been quite tolerant in allowing people to clearly and distinctly express their views.”
But Cllr. Toe, also former commissioner of the Liberia Anti-corruption Commission gave a historical comments.
“Our history is replete of powerful people who used their positions to violate the constitution of Liberia and violated the fundamental rights of people. During the administration of Mr. Samuel Doe, you had justice minister Jenkins Scott, you had Charles Julu and Edward Slanger, these people were so powerful and they misbehaved and they violated the rights of people.”
“During the administration of Charles Taylor you had had a Solicitor General in this town name Eddington Varman, you had a man in this town called Benjamin Yeatean, you had a man in the national police call Yekeh Kolubah(Now representative). All these people did what they could do. Probably violated the fundamental rights of people.”
He continued: “during the administration of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Shakie Kamara(a young boy killed by the military in West Point) was killed during the enforcement of the state of emergency. I do not think we want to have the re-visitation of these nightmare. I do not think so,” he
He added, “these people were so powerful and they violated the rights of people. I think Solicitor General Cephus needs to think.”
Cllr. Toe said, “I want to appeal to my dear friend and brother, yes we have a serious state of emergency, we got to do everything possible to contain this virus. But extra judicial action which violates the constitution and fundamental rights of individuals should not be encouraged.” TNR