U.S. Court Declares Tom Woewiyu ‘Flight Risk’

first_imgJucontee Thomas WoewiyuThe U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, who arrested Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu last week described the former Liberian Minister of National Defense a ‘flight risk,’ meaning he would escape to Liberia if the bail was accepted.This latest development followed a decision by a U.S. judge to deny him (Woewiyu) bail. This also means that Woewiyu will remain in detention until a new motion is file by a reputable lawyer on his behalf; but no date was set for any motion, this paper has learnt.The former spokesman of the disbanded rebel National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) was arrested last week at Newark Airport upon his return from Liberia.He was subsequently charged with ‘perjury’—lying on his citizenship application by failing to disclose his alleged affiliation with a “violent political group in Liberia” during the height of the country’s civil crisis, which lasted over a decade. Woewiyu served as Defense Minister in Charles Taylor’s former rebel NPFL, during Liberia’s civil war. Upon his arrest, his immigration lawyer, Raymond Basso, said his client amended his citizenship application to include his participation in the Taylor regime.  But Linwood C. Wright, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Philadelphia, said Judge Judith Faith Angell denied bail, “because she believed Woewiyu might try to leave (runaway) from the U.S. should he be bailed.“There was a detention hearing and Woewiyu was ordered detained by a U.S. Magistrate.  The magistrate found that he (Woewiyu) was a ‘flight risk,’ and so she ordered him detained pending his trial,” Wright said.Raymond Basso, Woewiyu’s immigration lawyer, told VOA last week the case against his client was purely an immigration matter, and that it was a “misconception” (mistaken belief) to suggest that he was being charged with war crimes.Basso said he was confident his client would be exonerated because, although he made a misrepresentation in his first citizenship application, it was later modified to include Woewiyu’s participation in the Taylor regime.Wright said the case is an immigration issue based on Woewiyu’s misrepresentations and non-disclosures under oath regarding his background.“For instance, one of the requirements was that he names all the organizations that he’s been in, political organizations, and he did not report that he was a member of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia,” Wright said.According to him, Woewiyu also checked “No” when asked in his application whether he had ever advocated, either directly or indirectly, the overthrow of a government by force or violence.“Another question was whether he had either directly or indirectly persecuted any group for a number of reasons, including political opinion and social affiliation and he said “No” to that. Of course, the grand jury determined that he was the minister of defense for the NPFL. There was a question with regards to persecution of groups that supported former President (Samuel) Doe when Doe was in power in Liberia,” Wright said.Woewiyu pleaded not guilty at his detention hearing to all counts against him, including perjury and four counts of fraudulent misrepresentation in immigration applications.As the case stands, a barrister in Liberia has told the Daily Observer that Woewiyu would eventually be charged with ‘war crimes’ and be prosecuted accordingly.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

MacLOCHLAINN WELCOMES TAOISEACH’S APOLOGY TO WOMEN OF MAGDALENE LAUNDRIES

first_imgSinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Pádraig MacLochlainn has welcomed the Taoiseach’s apology to the women of the Magdalene Laundries.He also called for the State to ensure that any redress scheme must be based on the rights and needs of the women themselves.Deputy MacLochlainn said “It is shocking that it has taken this long that for the women who were incarcerated in the Magdalene institutions to get the apology they deserve. “The State was complicit with the church in ensuring that there was an architecture of containment there for those whom they viewed were in need of moral guardianship for anything from being very young orphaned girls, to simply being too pretty but unmarried.“Unfortunately, the Taoiseach’s apology doesn’t explicitly list the state’s exact wrongdoing. I hope this will be forthcoming in due course. I also hope that the Government will see fit to also acknowledge the state’s role in the wrongful practice of symphisiotomy through the year’s too.“What happened in those laundries is a national scandal. It was slavery. Women were beaten, they were stripped and their heads were shaved by the nuns who ran them. The courts, the gardaí and Irish society stood over this horror.“I look forward to seeing the detail of the redress scheme. Under the UN Convention on Torture, the women are entitled to compensation. Any redress scheme must be rights-based and woman-focused. The Taoiseach has used the term “fund” in his speech which would seem to indicate that there is a predetermined amount of money in mind for the State to meet the women’s needs. This redress scheme must not be based on what the state feels like handing over. It must be based on the actual needs of the women themselves.” MacLOCHLAINN WELCOMES TAOISEACH’S APOLOGY TO WOMEN OF MAGDALENE LAUNDRIES was last modified: February 20th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more