Executive Mansion, Monrovia
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has granted clemency to fourteen (14) persons from River Gee County recently convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment for administrating sassywood resulting into the deaths of others. She has also granted unconditional clemency to two convicts in Grand Gedeh County who ordered and instructed the beating of a female citizen of their community accused of engaging in witchcraft resulting into the death of the accused person.
In a letter to Justice Minister Cllr. Philips Banks, the Liberian leader has instructed that the pardoned convicts shall undertake intensive community work to include educating their kinsmen that the practice of sassywood is outlawed and against the laws of Liberia. The President has further instructed that those pardoned are to make themselves available to their county authorities for other community services, discouraging their people from such illegal practices and not endulging in similar acts themselves. She has also urged them to afford themselves the opportunity to amend their ways or attitudes and become honorable and law abiding. Traditional trial by ordeal, she noted, violates the Constitution of Liberia.
Those pardoned in River Gee include; Mr. George T. Kargba, Mr. Paul Weleswen, Mr. George T. Nimely, Mr. Jacob Bliyee Jr., Mr. Milton Kargba, Mr. Newton Koffa, Mr. Joseph Chede Jr. and Mr. Robert Kargba Jr. Others pardoned are, Mr. Christian Swen, Mr. Sunday Dweh, Mr. Prince Wesseh, Mr. Winston Wesseh; Mr. Eric Doe and Mr. Cyrus Doe. Those pardoned from Grand Gedeh County include; Messrs. Samuel S. Deah and Gray Deah.
According to Article 59 of the Liberian Constitution, ‘The President of Liberia may remit any public forfeitures and penalties, suspend any fines and sentences, grant reprieves and pardons and restore civil rights after conviction for all public offences, except impeachment’.