Gongloe Alarms Over Extradition of Former Sierra Leonean Police Chief

Cllr. Gongloe has raised alarms over potential threats to activists and politicians seeking refuge in neighboring countries

Monrovia – Liberia’s prominent human rights lawyer and presidential candidate, Taiwon Saye Gongloe, has expressed grave concerns about the recent extradition of Sierra Leone’s former Chief of Police on Liberia’s democratic fabric.

Cllr. Gongloe has raised alarms over potential threats to activists and politicians seeking refuge in neighboring countries, fearing they might now face the risk of being returned and possibly harmed due to owing to what he called a political conspiracy between Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Gongloe’s apprehensions stem from the case of Mohammed Y. Toure, the former Chief Superintendent of Police in Sierra Leone, who was apprehended by the Liberian government on Sunday, August 6. Toure is accused of orchestrating a coup in his home country.

The subsequent extradition of Toure back to Sierra Leone has raised questions about Liberia’s commitment to international law and its duty to protect individuals seeking refuge from persecution.

Cllr. Gongloe has characterized the extradition process as a breach of Liberia’s obligations under international law. He contends that the move not only violates Liberia’s Criminal Procedure Law but also undermines the country’s standing as Africa’s oldest independent nation.

Gongloe argues that Liberia has a duty to uphold the principle of asylum and protect those fleeing political persecution.

Speaking at the Temple of Justice on August 9, 2023, Gongloe highlighted the lack of adherence to due process in Toure’s extradition. He cited Chapter 8 of Liberia’s Criminal Procedure Law, which defines extradition arrangements, fugitives, and political offenses. Gongloe emphasized that Toure’s alleged offense is political in nature and therefore should have been exempted from extradition under the law.

Gongloe further criticized the Liberian government’s reliance on the 1994 ECOWAS Convention as a justification for Toure’s return.

He argued that the convention primarily established the ECOWAS Parliament and outlined the roles of member states, rather than governing extradition procedures. This, Gongloe asserted, renders the government’s action legally questionable.

The human rights lawyer called upon various stakeholders, including politicians, civil society organizations, and religious communities, to unite in condemning the extradition.

He emphasized that collective action is necessary to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents and to safeguard Liberia’s democratic values.

Gongloe’s concerns highlight the delicate balance between extradition agreements, political considerations, and the protection of human rights. As Liberia navigates these challenges, the international community watches closely to see how the nation upholds its commitments to justice and asylum in an increasingly interconnected world.

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