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Gov’t Declares Mo Ali Wanted, But…

By Grace Q. Bryant
The Liberia National Police (LNP) has declared the Secretary General of the Unity Party, Mo Ali, as a wanted man and a threat to national security.
Mr. Ali was declared a wanted man for allegedly refusing to show-up at the headquarters of the LNP to answer questions relating to a March 1, facebook post which is believed to have caused the arson attacks on the headquarters of the National Elections Commission (NEC) recently.
In the Facebook post, Mo Ali wrote: “Dear National Elections Commission (NEC), we understand the ploy. But try it and you will see what is gonna be the end result.”
According to the police, they had earlier informed Mo Ali that they noticed incidents of petrol bombs thrown at the residence of Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe and the headquarters of NEC respectively and leaving properties damaged few weeks after his post was made.
“In view of the herein, coupled with the task assigned thereon to us to protect life and property, it is prudent sir, that we have a conversation with you regarding the motive and intent of your post. The scheduled date for your appearance is March 19, 2021 at 10:00 A.M.” the communication is quoted.
The police invitation to Ali came 18 days after his ambiguous Facebook post in which he warned the electoral body to stop delaying the certification of the Lofa County Senator-elect Brownie Samukai.
Ali and his peers in the opposition community believe that the ruling party is using the NEC to stop Samukai from being certificated and inaugurated as Senator of Lofa County.
Carter added that since Ali has been given the opportunity to attend the questioning voluntarily and failed, they will have him arrested this time around to face the law.
According to Carter, they are clamping down on free speech, stating, “Every free speech comes with responsibility and we remain very resolute in jealously protecting the peace and stability of this country.”
The LNP said Ali’s Facebook post might also be linked to the recent arson attacks on the home of Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe.
“Ali was due to visit the headquarters of the LNP for questioning but he has since refused. Mo Ali committed himself to appear at the LNP’s headquarters and we granted him the opportunity to come along with his lawyers. We expected him on March 18, but he failed to come today; we also expected him to be here at 10.A.M. but he also failed to show up again,” the police spokesperson, Moses Cater stated.
“Therefore, the police declared Ali a wanted man, a fugitive and a threat to national security and we will have him arrested anywhere he is seen,” Carter told reporters on March 19 at the LNP’s Headquarters in Monrovia.
Carter acknowledged that, “Mo was expected to arrive at the LNP headquarters by 10 A.M., however, by 11:50 A.M. his lawyers wrote the Inspector General, Patrick Sudue, to postpone the meeting to March 22, at 10 A. citing health reasons.”
According to the LNP spokesman, the letter from Ali’s lawyers came after they had given the police the assurance that their client was going to be available for questioning.
Meanwhile, Mo Ali who denied the police allegation that he is a fugitive said, he missed the meeting due to illness; a situation that prompted his lawyers to communicate with the authority to reschedule it.
“I was only cited to a conference; so if I refused to attend, LNP can press charges and not declare me a wanted person,” Mo Ali told reporters.
Also, one of Mo Ali’s lawyers has described the police categorization of his client as laughable; arguing that it cannot hold any legal ground.
“Carter made that statement without knowing something about it. Such a statement has endangered the life of the man and his family. The man is represented by his lawyers, so I don’t understand why we were not contacted further after we had told them about his absence,” Cllr. Findley Kangar expressed.
The former ruling party, the Unity Party has also denounced the declaration by the LNP that its Secretary General is a fugitive and threat to national security.
In a press release, the UP argued that the police declaration contradicts the law of the country and an attempt to intimidate and prosecute members of the opposition who have objectively spoken against socio-political ills, as well as, censor the views of the opposition.
“The actions by the government to declare the National Secretary General of the Unity Party wanted without being charged with any crime is a violation of his rights and endangers him and his family,” Cornelia Kruah-Togba, the National Assistant Secretary-General for Press, Publicity, and Outreach said.
The Secretary-General of the party was yesterday, March 19, declared a “wanted man” after failing to show up for questioning over his Facebook post on March 1, which the police authorities viewed as threatening to the peace of the country.
Assistant SG Togba added that the UP is an institution that respects the Law and rights of citizens and as such, the former ruling party said, “If the Government of Liberia is convinced and has evidence that Mr. Ali’s Facebook post of March 1 has any link to the alleged crimes, it should go ahead and charge him in accordance with the law.”
“While we adjure the government to pursue the right and legal course and ensure the safety of Mr. Ali, the National leadership and sympathizers of the party will peacefully accompany him to the Liberia National Police Headquarters on Monday, March 22, 2021, at 10:00 A.M,” Mrs. Togba added.
According to her, a “Wanted Person” also known as a “Fugitive from Justice” is a person that is either convicted or accused of a crime and is hiding from law enforcement in order to avoid arrest.
“Has Mr. Ali been convicted or accused of a crime? No, he was invited to provide the motive and intent of a Facebook post. Is he hiding from law enforcement in order to avoid arrest? No, there was never a Writ of Arrest out for Mr. Ali and he was represented by his lawyers as allowed by the law,” Togba further said in the release.
She said the Unity Party was informed by its National Secretary General, Mr. Mohammed Ali, of a text message he received inviting him to the headquarters of the Liberia National Police (LNP) at 10: A.M on March 19, for a conversation around a Facebook post he made on March 1, 2021.
In the letter signed by Cllr. Finley Y. Karngar and Cllr. Moiffie Kenneh, they provided their individual contact numbers and email addresses should the LNP decide to contact them for further information.
“However, at about 2 P.M. on March 19, four hours after receiving the letter from Mr. Ali’s lawyers, the same police declared him wanted and ordered his arrest,” Ms. Tobga added.
According to Mr. Moses Cater of the LNP, Mr. Ali was invited twice and he refused to show up. “This is false. Mr. Ali was invited only once via a phone text message, an invitation he honored through his lawyers,” Carter stated.
Chapter 1.5 of the Penal Law of Liberia states, “No conduct constitutes an offense unless it is a crime or infraction under the penal law or another statute of Liberia”.
Therefore, the government cannot attempt to arrest Mr. Ali over a Facebook post without due process to establish any link between his post and that which the government alleges. In addition, Chapter 2.2.1 of the Criminal Procedure Law of Liberia provides an accused person the right to representation by legal counsels.
“As in the case of Mr. Ali, this representation requesting a postponement of the conference due to his medical condition was made by Cllrs. Kangar and Kenneh and therefore, the government cannot declare him “wanted” for failure to submit to their invitation when in fact he did through his lawyers as provided by law.” The release stated.

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