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Liberian activist detained for planning peaceful demonstration

(CEMESP/IFEX) - Vandarlark Patricks, the chairperson of the Intellectual Discourse Association, spent three days in National Security Agency cells for threatening to mobilize 100 persons with placards, to demonstrate during the High Level Panel Summit meant to discuss post-2015 Millennium Development challenges.

According to the January 31 edition of Frontapage Africa , Patricks had written on his Facebook page on January 25, 2013 that he was rallying some 100 persons or more at the Robert International Airport with placards, where foreign dignitaries would be arriving. Patricks was quoted as having written, “The campaigners of change, the crippled, [the] blind, the old aged, the vulnerable unemployed, traditional dancers will hold anti-government placards…we will talk, we will say it, we will perform…”

Three human rights lawyers, Counselors Taiwon Gongloe, Negbalee Warner and Alfred Brownell, are said to have offered pro-bono services to Patricks, describing him as the first political prisoner of conscience under the administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The lawyers challenged the Sirleaf administration to charge their client with any offense, if he is indeed considered a violator of any offense.

Patricks is quoted as saying that he was charged with terrorist threats and impersonation. The case is to appear in court in February. According to Counselor Gongloe, President Sirleaf has encouraged people, on the record, to demonstrate against the government, in order to show world leaders that she believes in democracy.

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