Independent Human Rights Commission Warns Liberia Against Extraditing Alleged Sierra Leone Fugitives

Mohammed Toure

MONROVIA – The Chairperson of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) has issued a stern caution to the Liberian government, urging them to refrain from extraditing former Sierra Leone Chief Superintendent of Police, Mohammed Y. Toure.

Cllr. Dempster Brown, leading the INCHR, emphasized that Liberia lacks an extradition agreement with Sierra Leone, making the potential extradition of Toure legally questionable.

Extradition agreements are formal arrangements, often treaty-based, that allow for the mutual surrender of fugitives apprehended within the territories of the contracting parties.

On Sunday, August 6, Liberia’s government apprehended Mohammed Y. Toure, the former Chief Superintendent of Police of Sierra Leone, who stands accused of orchestrating a coup in his home country.

Cllr. Brown went on to issue a strong ultimatum, asserting that if the Liberian Police fail to bring the Sierra Leonean national before a court within twenty-four hours, he would proceed to file a writ of Habeas corpus.

Simultaneously, the INCHR Chairperson cautioned Liberia against complying with Sierra Leone’s request for Toure’s extradition, urging strict adherence to legal protocols.

Furthermore, Cllr. Brown implored the Liberian government to consider its international human rights obligations while deliberating on the extradition request.

Highlighting the legal context, Cllr. Brown emphasized that both Sierra Leone and Liberia are parties to numerous regional and international instruments, including the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the ECOWAS Convention on Extradition.

He underscored that Liberia’s commitment to the 1969 OAU Convention must be upheld, particularly Article 2(3), which mandates the country not to return an individual who, due to well-founded fears, refuses to go back to their country of origin.

However, in a press release, the Government of Liberia announced its decision to comply with Sierra Leone’s request to extradite Mohammed Y. Toure, also known as “Sankoh Paul Alimamy” and “Yeate Yeate.”

According to the Liberian authorities, Toure was detained by Liberian security forces in Monrovia based on allegations of conspiring in subversive activities aimed at overthrowing President Julius Maada Bio’s government in Sierra Leone.

Following initial investigations within Liberia, and considering assurances from the Sierra Leonean government regarding the accused’s rights to a fair trial, Liberia concluded that handing over Mr. Toure to Sierra Leone was appropriate.

Liberia maintains that the extradition aligns with its domestic laws and the 1986 Non-Aggression Security Treaty between Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. The government also asserts that the decision adheres to the 1994 ECOWAS Convention.

As the situation unfolds, Liberia’s adherence to international law and human rights obligations remains central to the ongoing discourse surrounding the extradition of the alleged fugitive.

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