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Amnesty International Calls For Release Of Liberian Activist - 2002-11-08

Amnesty international is calling on the Liberian government to release Liberian human rights activist Aloysius Toe, who was arrested by the authorities earlier this week and charged with treason.

Amnesty says there is no basis for the charges against him so he must be released immediately. The Liberian authorities had linked Mr. Toe to the rebel group Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, LURD, which has been fighting with government troops in an effort to overthrow the government of President Charles Taylor.

Tesa Kordeczka, the Amnesty researcher for Liberia and Sierra Leone, told English to Africa reporter Richard Kotey that Liberia’s human rights record is getting worse and worse. She said her organization’s concern stems from the fact that this is not the first time the Liberian government has clamped down on prominent human rights activists like Aloysius Toe. She said other human rights activists arrested with him have been released, but the authorities continue to detain him and have charged him with treason because they believe he is more prominent than the others and is seen as the figure-head among those who have been criticizing the government on its human rights record.

She said before Mr. Toe was arrested, his house was raided and his wife was arrested and later released. She said Amnesty International wants the government to give him a speedy trial because his continued detention is against International law.