Ex-Sierra Leone Rebel Commander Sues Advocates for Wrongful Prosecution

Ex-Sierra Leone Rebel Commander Sues Advocates for Wrongful Prosecution
Ex-Sierra Leone Rebel Commander Sues Advocates for Wrongful Prosecution

Africa-Press – Liberia. The Civil Law Court in Monrovia is set to begin hearings on June 15 regarding a US$50 million lawsuit filed by Gibril Massaquoi against Global Justice and Research Project (GJRP) and Civitas Maxima (CM) for alleged malicious prosecution and wrongful actions.

Massaquoi, a former commander of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebel group in Sierra Leone that operated in that country from 1990 to 2002, is seeking US$20 million in punitive damages and US$30 million in general damages from the defendants — according to the suit filed his Attorney-In-Fact, Cllr. Eugene Lamie Massaquoi.

Massaquoi, the plaintiff, was arrested in March 2020 in Finland on charges of serious war crimes during Liberia’s civil war, including murder, sexual violence, and the recruitment of child soldiers.

Upon his arrest by Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation in Tampere, a main industrial and University City where, according to Finnish media, the Plaintiff who wore a mask and was known as ‘Angel Gabriel’, was “charged with committing serious war crimes, including several murders and crimes against humanity during Liberia’s bloody second civil war from 1999 through 2003.”

Despite testifying before the Special Court for Sierra Leone and serving under the United Nations Witness Protection Program, Massaquoi claims his arrest was based on false evidence provided by the defendants.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants conspired to provide fake information to Finnish authorities, leading to his arrest and prosecution. The charges against Massaquoi included allegations of murder, sexual violence, and other acts of violence during the conflict in Liberia.

The co-defendants, the Court documents, alleged that he should be prosecuted because they said offenses fell outside of the jurisdiction of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, amongst others.

The suit also said that between August and December 2001 in Lofa County, the defendants allege that the plaintiff committed several murders and other acts of violence, including acts of sexual violence, described in the Finnish police charge sheet.

They further allege that the Plaintiff tortured GRJP’s founder and director, Hassan Bility, in a village called Klay in July 2002.

“They accused him of killing and raping innocent children and women in Monrovia between May 1 and August 18th, 2003, for which Plaintiff was arrested, charged, and prosecuted in the Turku Court, Finland,” the lawsuit says.

Massaquoi was acquitted by the Finnish courts after a lengthy legal process. The accusations against him, regarding his role in the Monrovia battles of 2003, were reportedly found to be unsubstantiated by Finnish courts.

The lawsuit claims that there was no evidence to support the allegations made against him. The upcoming court hearings will shed light on the allegations made by Massaquoi against the defendants and the validity of his claims of malicious prosecution and wrongful actions.

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