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 Gov't set up Committee to Probe Students' Flogging

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PostSubject: Gov't set up Committee to Probe Students' Flogging   Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:54 am

Gov't Sets Up Committee To Probe Students' Flogging





President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf












The
Liberian leader, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has set up an Independent
Inquiry Committee to investigative causes that led to the March 22
Student-Police brutality
in Monrovia. On
March 22, 2011 students from the Monrovia Consolidated School System
(MCSS) carried out what they termed as “peaceful demonstration”, in
demand of their
teachers'
salaries since the teachers laid down their pieces of chalk and
abandoned classes because the government failed to settle their
(teachers) salaries.
The
action by the students at the time provoked the police and they chased
the students out of the streets, on ground that the students' action was
illegal
because they
didn't obtain permission from the Ministry of Justice to do so. The
police, through their intervention to get the students off the streets
led to the
alleged brutalizing of several students, including a handicap female student.



The
police boss, who also claimed that several of the officers were wounded
by the students, further arrested some of the students and demanded
them to pay for
some
damages they caused as a result of the riot. Following few hours of
detention and intervention, the students were later released.
The
incident occurred at the time President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf departed
the country for Abuja, Nigeria to participate in the 39th Ordinary
Summit of the
Authority and Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).



The
Presidential spokesperson, Cyrus Wleh Badio told journalists in
Monrovia on Monday that upon viewing a material appearing to show a
heavy-handed police reaction to
activities of the protesters that was published, President Johnson-Sirleaf described the material as “very disturbing”.



He
explained that since the incident occurred, there have been several
conflicting accounts of the day's event and so, the President has
immediately set up an
independent
inquiry into the event to establish the facts clearly and impartially.
The Committee is to be headed by a notable lawyer that would be
announced shortly,
once confirmed.



Other
members of the Committee are the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC),
Liberia National Student Union (LINSU), Association of Female Lawyers of
Liberia
(AFELL), National Teachers Association of Liberia (NTAL) and Civil Servant Association of Liberia (CSAL).



According
to Mr. Badio, the Committee has been mandated to investigate the
actions on both sides and make recommendation so that anyone found to
have broken the
law,
including the police would face the full weight of the law. He said
before making any judgment on the issue, the President wants to have all
facts and examine the
actions of everyone involved in the unfortunate action.



The
President, according to Mr. Badio stated that this government will not
condone any action by the police or any enforcement agency that would
threaten the free
expression of people or an intimidation of peaceful protests by Liberians. He said,” As someone who has been brutalized by police, the President knows the value of a citizen's
right to protest but this right must be balanced with other citizens'
rights to safety under the law, and the police responsibility to
maintain order,
protect the public and themselves.



The
presidential spokesperson further reiterated that the UP-led Government
will never be part of any attempt to curtail the freedom of speech and
the free
expression of
the people's will. He said President Johnson-Sirleaf has assured that
her administration will ensure that all Liberians and those living in
Liberia are
protected by the laws of the land.
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