The recent release of Liberian journalist and rights activist Hassan Bility, detained without trial for almost six months, should pave the way for the release of other rights activists who have been arrested in Liberia since the beginning of the year, Amnesty International said on Tuesday. Welcoming Bility's release, Amnesty called on the Liberian government to "go further" and release others who are still in detention.
Bility was arrested in late June by security forces who accused him of collaborating with the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), an armed group fighting to overthrow President Charles Taylor. Despite court orders to the government to produce him, along with two others who were arrested at the same time, they never appeared in court and were never officially charged. The men remained in custody incommunicado. Bility was released on Saturday and flown out of the country, Amnesty said on Monday.
Other rights activists still in detention include Aloysius Toe of the Liberian Coalition of Human Rights Defenders and Sheikh Sackor of the Humanist Watch. According to Amnesty, they and others have been held solely because of their criticism of the government and condemnation of human rights situation in the country. Future releases should be "immediate and without conditions. It should not be dependent on the intervention by other governments or their removal from the country", a reference to media reports that the United States government exerted pressure on the Taylor government for Bility's release.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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