Freedom House applauds the Liberian government’s move to temporarily release imprisoned journalist Rodney Sieh, and urges the government to review his case and take action to ensure Liberia’s compliance with freedom of expression norms. Today’s move by the government of Liberia is the latest in the ongoing saga of Sieh, editor and publisher of FrontPage Africa, imprisoned in August following his failure to pay $1.5 million in damages imposed by the Liberian courts after a former Minister of Agriculture succeeded in a libel suit against his paper. The Ministry of Justice ordered a 30-day “compassionate release” for Sieh, who has been in poor health, but the resolution of the case remains unclear.
Freedom House joins the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and key Liberian human rights organizations in condemning the arrest and prolonged detention of Rodney Sieh, the managing editor and publisher of newspaper FrontPage Africa. Mr. Sieh remains hospitalized after he began a hunger strike protesting his imprisonment.
Freedom House welcomes the conviction of former Liberian President Charles Taylor on charges of atrocities committed in Sierra Leone in the late 1990s and 2000s, including mass murder, rape, and conscription of child soldiers.
Two Freedom House representatives recently traveled to Liberia on a fact-finding mission to examine the country's pre-electoral political environment and human rights situation after more than a decade of civil war.