February 12, 2010
The Honorable Christiana Tarr
Minister of Justice, Republic of Liberia
Ministry of Justice
RE: Request for Independent Inquiry into Fracas Involving the Liberian National Police and Student Leaders of Various Student Institutions in Liberia.
Dear Minister Tarr:
I have the honor to present my compliments and to introduce ourselves as legal counsels for the Liberia National Student Union (LINSU), the University of Liberia Student Union (ULSU), etc. representing the legal interest of some fourteen (14) students who were arrested by the police on January 16, 2010 and kept under police detention until they were admitted to bail and released on January 18, 2010.
As lawyers, we have uncovered evidence bordering on police brutality and official meddling in the affairs of students which may have prompted the incidence of Janaury 16, 2010 leading to the students’ arrest, detention and subsequent court appearance.
The matter remains undetermined at the Monrovia City Magisterial Court for preliminary examination and given the seriousness we attach to this matter, the nature of human rights violations associated with this case and the interest of government in the wellbeing of its people and in maintaining a stable and orderly society, we hereby recommend the establishment of an independent inquiry into the fracas and that Government of Liberia assumes responsibility for the medical rehabilitation of all student victims, with urgent attention being place on the state of health of one of the students who has been continuously hospitalized at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center believed to have damaged his kidney.
An independent and public inquiry will reveal the following:
1. The underlying causes and circumstances leading to the outbreak of violence;
2. The wrongful conduct of the Police which may have led to or precipitated the violence;
3. The wrongful conduct of students which may have led to, contributed to or precipitated the violence;
4. Compensation for any and all wrongful conduct; and
5. Recommendations to avoid future recurrence of violence of this nature in our society.
We trust the government of Liberia will appreciate this recommendation and act expeditiously to uphold the public interest in these matters.
Cllr Boakai N. Kanneh