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War crime activist arrested to prevent him from petitioning visiting US president

(CEMESP/IFEX) - On 21 February 2008, police in Monrovia arrested and briefly detained an activist seeking to petition visiting US President George W. Bush to promote the establishment of a war crimes court for Liberia.

Mr. Mulbah Morlu, Chairman of the Forum for the Establishment of a War Crimes Court for Liberia, was held at police headquarters for more than four hours, during which he was to have presented a petition to President Bush.

Morlu told a news conference early in the week that he had received endorsements from the United States Embassy in Monrovia to present his petition during Bush's visit.

He had earlier announced that he would be leading a 50,000-strong demonstration to present the petition.

In text messages forwarded to various media houses on 21 February, Morlu said the police arrested him on "fake and fabricated" claims of "sabotage and hindering law enforcement".

In a 2006 incident, the government resisted a similar petitioning program during the visit of then United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. Mr. Annan, however, granted Morlu an audience.

Morlu and his team are seeking the establishment of a war crimes tribunal for those whom he claims "bear the greatest responsibility for the war in Liberia". He has on various occasions accused President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and key members of her government of being among those responsible.

Morlu has circulated his petition to various international and media organizations.

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