Improper Detention

On April 3, 2008, one of the JPC monitors in Grand Kru, Gabriel Nimely, received a complaint at his home in Grand Cess from a woman who claimed that her husband had been thrown in jail the previous day on the orders of a magistrate.

A dispute had broken out between the man and the magistrate when the magistrate intervened in an argument the man was having with someone else. The magistrate addressed the man by his country name, and the man addressed the magistrate also by his country name – Klah.

The magistrate took offense at being called by that name, and he ordered a policeman to lock up the man.

When Gabriel received the complaint, he followed up at the police station with the local commander, who described the charge upon which he had locked up the man as “abuse.” Gabriel explained that no one should be locked up for a civil matter like that, but the police commander wouldn’t budge without order from the magistrate.

Gabriel knew police procedure from his days as a policeman, and he notified the station commander that he would report the case to the JPC county office in Barclayville, so that the monitor there, Raymond, could follow up with the county police commander.

Gabriel went immediately home and drafted a letter to Raymond. As he was addressing the front of the envelope, a messenger arrived to summon him back to the police station. When he arrived there, the man had already been released from detention. The station commander explained that he didn’t want news of his conduct to reach to the county office in Barclayville, and he apologized.

The Grand Kru has had success releasing a number of people from detainment in a manner like this. It seems to be a common problem in that county.

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