News / Africa

Liberian Authorities Arrest Another Opposition Official

CDC lawyer Cyrennius Cephus says the arrests of Acarous Gray and Mulbah Morlu call into question the issue of national reconciliation

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James Butty

For the second time in less than a week, the Liberian government has arrested an official of the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).

Police Wednesday arrested Mulbah Morlu, chairman for mobilization of the CDC.

His arrest follows that of the party’s Secretary General, Acarous Gray, who was detained and then released Christmas morning [Sunday] after being charged with numerous crimes, including sedition.

Morlu’s lawyer, Cyrennius Cephus, who also represents Gray, said Morlu was arrested even though he was on his way to honor a writ of arrest already issued by the court.

“He was arrested by the police but, before then, there had been a writ of arrest issued by the court because the writ of arrest that took Acarous to jail contained his name as well.  He decided to make his way to the court to be arrested by the court.  On his way, he was arrested by the police and, instead of being brought to be served with the warrant, he was taken into police custody,” he said.

Cephus said he told the police that only the courts had jurisdiction over his client, not the police because the court had already issued a writ of arrest. But, he said the police told him they were only trying to process Morlu.

Acting police director Chris Massaquoi declined to comment on the Morlu arrest.

Cephus said the fact that the police have an open-ended writ of arrest suggests witch-hunting and calls into question the issue of national reconciliation.

“The law in Liberia says the police can call in anybody they want to call in but, once it becomes selective against one group of people, it raises the fundamental question about the issue of national reconciliation,” Cephus said.

Cephus again denied that the arrested party officials played a role in the recent student rioting over summer jobs payment.

“If you notice, the issue of the student rioting was the question of the nonpayment for services rendered.  The CDC was never a party.  Acarous Gray was never a party,” Cephus said.

He said the police have yet to produce any evidence to back up their allegations that Gray and Morlu stole $800,000 worth of property and engaged in criminal mischief and aggravated assault.

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