7 Defendants May Be Freed in Mercenary Case

first_imgSeven of the 18 persons accused of mercenary activities in neighboring La Côte d’Ivoire may be set free, if their  pleas are accepted by Criminal Court ‘D’ at the Temple of Justice.The 18 men were arrested between 2010 and 2012 in Grand Gedeh County by state security. They were subsequently indicted and charged in 2013 for alleged mercenary activities.In their 19-count “Motion for Judgment Acquittal,” lawyers for the defense argued that witnesses who have testified for prosecution have already admitted that the seven co-defendants knew nothing about fighting in La Côte d’Ivoire.They further argued that the co-defendants should be acquitted as a matter of law, stating that “The state failed to produce evidence against them.”The lawyers said state witnesses had failed to produce evidence showing that any of the co-defendants was arrested with arms, while returning from La Côte d’Ivoire to Liberia, where they were arrested.The defense team added that prosecution failed “miserably” to satisfy the “burden of proof” in the matter as required by law, alleging the evidence was insufficient to convict the men of the charge.They also argued that government failed during the trial to prove their indictments with clear and cogent evidences, as there were material variances (contradictions) in the testimonies of their witnesses.Therefore, the lawyers prayed that “This Honorable Court should accept the motion and discharge the co-defendants from further answering to the charge of mercenarism, and grant unto them such further  relief it may consider just and legal”.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


LAPD under fire from Islamic leaders over plan to detail communities

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Najee Ali of Project Islamic Hope said his group has appealed to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to intervene.“Chief (William) Bratton has a habit of shopping for the leaders who agree with him, rather than reaching out to the community,” Ali said. “We want him to understand how offensive this is to all communities.”Ali said he hopes is hopefulVillaraigosa will make changes to the LAPD plan.“He was once president of the (American Civil Liberties Union) and he should realize what this means,” Ali said.“And if he doesn’t, we will bring the point home to him with vigils and demonstrations.” Amid growing nationwide controversy, Islamic leaders called on the Los Angeles Police Department on Tuesday to abandon plans by its counterterrorism bureau to create a map detailing Muslim communities across the city.The plan, revealed earlier this week, has drawn accusations of racial profiling and concern that it could be used with other communities, even as LAPD officials have said their efforts are being misinterpreted.“As an African-American, we know what it is to be profiled,” said the Rev. Eric Lee, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles.“We have been fighting profiling for years. We don’t see the LAPD mapping out skinheads. We don’t see the LAPD mapping out neo-Nazis. We don’t see the LAPD mapping out corporate criminals. This is an effort to profile people based on their race.” The controversy erupted after LAPD Deputy Chief Mike Downing testified before a U.S. Senate panel late last month that the department iswas joining with an academic institution and looking for a Muslim partner to develop the mapping project.Islamic groups to meetIn his testimony, Downing said the project would detail the Muslim communities in the city, along with demographic data and information on social interactions.While LAPD officials said the goal is to identify groups that might be having difficulty integrating into society, butMuslim groups and the ACLU have decried the move.Leaders of several Islamic groups are scheduled to meet Thursday with Downing, head of the Counter Terrorism Division, to discuss the concerns it has raised among the 500,000 Muslims who live in Los Angeles.Villaraigosa said he hopes is hopeful the Thursday meeting will lead to better understanding. And he said he has been briefed by Bratton and has received assurances that it is not intended to violate civil and human rights.“But he also has personal concerns about the LAPD policy and wants to assure the Muslim community that it has a full seat at the table and that the policy reflects their concerns,” Villaraigosa spokesman Matt Szabo said.LAPD seeks ‘partnership’For its part, the LAPD said it believes too much attention is being focused on the use of the word “mapping,” and that that is taking away from its goal to improve understanding.LAPD officials have said the move is not an effort to profile a community but an effort to thwart radicalization.Lt. Mark Stainbrook of the counterterrorism division said officials are trying to get more information about the program out to the public and the groups involved.“This was initiated with the idea we need to partner with the Muslim community,” Stainbrook said. “The only project is to have a partnership.“Chief Bratton has made it clear we cannot do this on our own and need feedback from the Muslim community. The whole point is to get people involved.“If there is a problem with the words we use, we are prepared to change them. That’s the easy part. What we need to do is raise understanding by the department and the community as to what it is we do. We cannot do this alone; we need the community involved.”But Ali said the LAPD should focus more on the terror created by Los Angeles street gangs and gang violence against African-Americans.Representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council said the LAPD program has drawn concern across the country.“People are concerned on the purposes this will be used for,” said Sharif Mourassay of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “This mapping project says that Muslims are more prone to violence than any other faith.“It is ill-advised and deeply offensive as well as constitutionally questionable. All this does is generate fear and mistrust and looks like you are trying to gather intelligence based on religion and ethnicity.”[email protected] 213-978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more