Monrovia, Liberia-Friday, December 30, 2016: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Friday granted Presidential Executive Clemency to thirteen (13) convicted prisoners from three prison facilities in Liberia including four Grand Gedeans and nine others convicted for various offenses. The 13 prisoners were released from the Monrovia, Buchanan and Sanniquellie Central Prisons respectively.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf granted the Executive Clemency to Messrs Ophoree Diah, Emmanuel Saymah, Jacob Saydee and Moses Bayee who were tried and convicted for Mecenarism from the Monrovia Central Prison. Mr. Wuo Gballah, Ms. Oretha Gono, Yei Dokie, Peter Zuweh and Jerome Zuweh were convicted for vandalizing properties of Arcelor Mittal in Nimba County and released from the Buchanan Central Prison - while Prince Sayemie, Victoria Dolo, Hassan Morris and Kou Saye were released from the Sanniquellie and Monrovia Central Prisons respectively.
The Liberian leader admonished the released prisoners to endeavor to be good and law-abiding citizens by helping their communities promote peace as well as to help report and prevent crimes. “As I grant you clemency today, let me urged you to return to your respective communities with positive attitudes and serve as good ambassadors for the promotion of peace and national development”, she told the pardoned prisoners.
President Sirleaf also called on the released prisoners to think and act positively and seek to be patriotic and nationalistic citizens. She further urged them to be good ambassadors for reconciliation and national healing across Liberia.
“You all need to know that you committed crime, came before the court of law and were found guilty. What we are doing here now is an act of goodwill based on your behavior after conviction. So, by the virtue of the authority granted me by the constitution, I hereby set you free and may God be with you”, President Sirleaf concluded.
Speaking earlier, Justice Minister Frederick Cherue informed President Sirleaf that the 13 prisoners were recommended for clemency due to positive behavior exhibited in prison following their conviction. “The prison centers are not meant for punishment only. It is also a place for rehabilitation and correction and we are convinced that the 13 prisoners being recommended for clemency are fully rehabilitated and corrected”, Minister Cherue pointed out.
It can be recalled that 11 Grand Gedeans who invaded neighboring Cote d’Ivoire a couple of years ago were charged for Mercenarism and found guilty of the crime. A group of Nimba citizens who also vandalized properties of Arcelor Mitta in Yekepa, Nimba County were also charged, prosecuted, found guilty and sentenced.