BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Africa  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Friday, 26 July, 2002, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK
Liberia ordered to produce journalists
Liberian troops
A state of emergency has been in place since February
A military court in Liberia has ordered the government to produce a prominent newspaper editor and three other men who were arrested in June.

The Court Martial Board of Liberia gave the government until 7 August to do so.

The order follows a case brought by several human rights groups which accused the government of grossly violating the constitutional rights of Hassan Bility, the editor of the weekly Analyst newspaper, and the other detainees.

Liberian President Charles Taylor
Taylor has so far refused to release the men

They are accused of being part of the rebel movement, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (Lurd).

But Lurd rebels have said they have nothing to do with the detained journalists.

The government has so far refused to release the men or bring them to court despite international condemnation and a previous court order.

Speaking on BBC's Focus On Africa programme, Liberia's Information Minister, Reginald Goodrich, said Mr Bility will be made available to the military court in due course - but declined to say when.

"Because of the gravity of the situation and the complexity of issues surrounding Mr Bility's crimes, he has taken some time to co-operate," he said.

Anti-terrorism act

The United States has already condemned the Liberian government's treatment of the journalists.

It has urged the Liberian government to adhere to its professed intention to achieve national reconciliation and hold "free and fair elections" next year.

Fears for the journalists' safety have also been expressed by the press freedom campaigners, Reporters Without Borders.

President Charles Taylor has denied reports that Mr Bility has been tortured to death.

In early July, Mr Taylor said: "Only the Red Cross may in future be given access to the accused" because of what he termed as the gravity of the crime they faced.

The newspaper edited by Mr Bility, the Analyst, has been closed on several occasions by the government.

It was recently accused by the authorities of publishing anti-government articles.

President Taylor imposed a state of emergency in February after Lurd rebels advanced almost to the capital, Monrovia.

News, analysis and background from Liberia's conflict and escalating refugee crisis

Key issues

Country profiles

Timeline

TALKING POINT

CLICKABLE GUIDE
See also:

26 Jul 02 | Africa
09 Jul 02 | Africa
03 Jul 02 | Africa
07 May 02 | Africa
21 Jul 01 | Americas
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes