(Gbarnga – 19 July 2013)The 9th Judicial Circuit Court in Gbarnga Bong County on Tuesday released 16 people from further detention after being held above the 48hrs statutory period required.
The 16 people, including three women, were released after a writ of Habeas Corpus was filed by the defense team, headed by former Internal Affairs Minister and former Bong County Senator, Cllr. Richard K. Flomo.
Habeas Corpus is a provision of the Liberian constitution that compels the state to produce the living body of suspects detained without charge and send to court.
In his petition before the court, Cllr. Flomo said his clients were arrested illegally detained by Police authorities in connection with the July 11, 2013 riot that took place between officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU) and the people of Totota in Salala District.
The riot started when a group of PSU Officers headed by the Deputy Commander of the Bong County Police Detachment, Superintendent Abrahim Gboree, entered into the home of a business man in Totota, Nelson Lamini and allegedly made away with over L$ 8,000.
The PSU Officers said Mr. Lamini, President of a ‘susu club,’ was arrested after he was spotted with a short single barrel gun during a routine patrol in a nearby ghetto in the community, but eye witnesses claimed he was arrested from his home.
Our correspondent said, normal activities came to a standstill for several hours and led to the firing of live bullets that wounded three civilians and the destruction of the Police depot in Totota.
19 year old Morris Sumowa, who sustained bullet wound in his left leg said, he was returning from a nearby village when he was shot by one of the PSU Officers who appeared to have been escaping from the angry citizens.
Although the detained men were released after the issued the writ of Habeas Corpus, the matter surrounding the alleged theft of L$8,000 from the home of Nelson Lamini remained unsettled as the citizens went hom.