Detention and torture of human rights lawyer Tiawan Gongloe

The ICJ intervened today with President Charles Taylor Liberia, expressing its deep concern over the detention without charge and torture of human rights lawyer Tiawan Gongloe.

Mr. Gongloe is currently hospitalized under police guard for injuries suffered as a result of the torture.

Mr. Gongloe’s arrest is reported to have been undertaken in connection with a speech he had delivered in March 2002 in Guinea, wherein he had discussed the role of civil society in achieving peace in the Mano River Union. He has previously been an outspoken opponent of human rights abuses by the Liberian security forces.

Mr. Gongloe was allegedly beaten severely throughout the night of his arrest and subjected to death threats. He was then taken to Cooper Hospital as a result of injuries sustained from the beatings. He is said to be suffering from loss of hearing in his left ear, a swollen and bloodied left eye, severe bruising all over his body and intense internal pain.

Mr. Gongloe has not been charged with any offence.

Subjecting a person to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment and detaining a person without promptly informing him of the charge against him constitute violations of international law. In addition, Principle 16 of the United Nations Principles on the Role of Lawyers proves that “Governments shall ensure that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.”

The ICJ would ask that you join its call to that the Liberian authorities release Mr. Gongloe from custody or, if it charges him with an offence provided by law, apply international standards of due process. In addition, the Government should investigate the allegations of ill-treatment in custody and prosecute any official suspected of committing, ordering or acquiescing in any act amounting to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. Finally, the Government must ensure that Mr. Gongloe has full access to necessary medical treatment.

Note: Please write to:

President of the Republic of Liberia
His Excellency Mr. Charles Taylor
Office of the President
Executive Mansion
PO Box 9001
Capitol Hill
Republic of Liberia
Fax: 231 228 026 or 226 544

Director of Police
Paul Mulbah
National Police Force
National Police Headquarters
Republic of Liberia
Fax: 231 226 785

Minister of Justice
Mr. Eddington Varmah
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Ashmun St.
PO Box 9006
Republic of Liberia
Fax: 231 227 872

NewsWeb stories