News / Africa

Liberia Seeks Clarification from US on Visa Revocations

Liberian President Meets With President ObamaLiberian President Meets With President Obama
x
Liberian President Meets With President Obama
Liberian President Meets With President Obama
James Butty

Liberia said it has made “proper representation” to the US embassy seeking clarification on why the visas of three senior government officials were revoked after they had left Liberia.

The three officials including Associate Supreme Court Justice Kabineh J’aneh, Youth and Sports Minister Eugene Nagbe, and Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff.  

All three once had some affiliation with different rebel groups during Liberia’s civil war, which lasted from 1989 to 2003.  

The visa dispute, and the arrest and detention in May this year of Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu, Charles Taylor’s former defense minister, indicate the Obama administration may be ready to go after Liberians accused of war crimes.

Liberia’s Information Minister, Lewis Brown, described the visa incident as serious.  He said his government wants to know what really happened.

“So far, we have made the proper representation through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the American Embassy accredited near our capital seeking information on the revocation of visas of at least three individuals who are serving at very high levels in the government.  We are still waiting for feedback from the embassy,” he said.

J’aneh was reportedly told his visa was canceled upon arrival in France enroute to the United States.  Nagbe learned of his visa revocation after arriving in the United States, while Doe-Sheriff was stopped in Accra, Ghana.

Brown said Monrovia remains hopeful the visa issue is simply the result of a misunderstanding.

“We know that at least three senior officials’ visas were revoked. It is within the purview of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make such representation and to get the information.  Until we do, we’d like to think there may have been some misunderstanding, a processing issue perhaps,” he said.

Woewiyu was arrested last May in Newark, New Jersey and charged with “lying on his application for U.S. citizenship by not disclosing his alleged affiliation with a violent political group in Liberia”, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

In 2012, the US government deported George Boley, former leader of the Liberia Peace Council, and was found to have recruited and used child soldiers in military operations undertaken by the Peace Council during the country’s civil war.

ICE said Boley’s deportation was the first removal order it had obtained under the Child Soldiers Accountability Act of 2008.

In 2009, a court in Miami convicted former Liberian President Charles Taylor on six counts of committing acts of torture and conspiracy to commit torture.

He was the commander of the notorious Anti-Terrorism Unit that suppressed opposition to his father’s regime. Taylor was sentenced him to 97 years.

Brown said the Liberian government is unaware whether the visa revocations were part of an overall US commitment to root out alleged human rights violators who may be trying to seek refuge in the United States.

“We’ve heard about all these speculations; we do not rush to any conclusion.  And so, what we want to do is to, as we’ve done, do a formal request for information about what may, or may not, have occurred.  I think people are running to conclusions and may find it totally unnecessary in the end,” Brown said.

He said the Liberian government has made the necessary representation to the US Embassy and expects to get the results soon.  After that, Brown said, the government will inform its citizens about what really transpired.

As President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf prepares to travel to Washington for next month’s US-Africa summit, one local report said the visa incident might have forced the president to make some adjustments in members of her delegation. FrontPage Africa, a Liberia online publication, reports she dropped Brown from the delegation.

Butty interview with Brown
Butty interview with Browni
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

 

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs