|“I am the victim, not my victim,” Lawson Gweesee, father of 11yrs rape victim|
Twenty five years old James, not his real name, has been sent to the Monrovia Central Prison for pretrial detention for allegedly raping 11 years old Mary (also not her name).
Suspect James was forwarded by the Liberia National Police (LNP) assigned at its Zone Four Deport B on Tuesday, May 6, 2014, to the Gardnersville Magisterial Court where an official writ of arrest was served him. He will remain in detention until criminal proceedings are initiated at Criminal Court ‘E.’
By statue, the Gardnersville magisterial court will have to forward relevant case files to the specialized sex crime courts (‘E’) within seven two hours for prosecutors to begin appropriate legal formalities.
This comes just a day when father of the 11 years old rape survivor accused the Liberian National Police of wanting to tamper with his daughter’s case.
“I don’t’ know what’s going. The girl, the police officer who is handling my case, called me today to say they were releasing the boy (suspect James) because they couldn’t understand the medical report. She said they were going back to the hospital for the hospital to explain the medical report to them before they send the case to court. I don’t like it. She said they want to settle the whole case since they can’t understand it,”Lawson told me in a furious tone.
“I want you to join to go to the police station now. I already told them that a journalist was with me at the depot and that the story was in the press already,” he continued.
The LNP could neither deny nor confirm Lawson’s accusation. The Deputy Commander at the LNP Zone Four depot at the former LPRC Junction on the Somalia Drive said rape is a crime and therefore will go to court.“All I know is that James will go to court. If any police officer called her (survivor) father, I don’t know. All I know is that James will go to court,” Inspector Bakaba Jallah assured.
Although Lawson accused the police of wanting to compromise his daughter’s case, members from both victim and alleged perpetrator’s families were seen in a meeting aimed at compromising the case for home settle. The initiative was led by a pastor in the community.
But the girl’s father did not agree to home settlement. “Why should I compromise this case? This is the future of my daughter we are talking about here! I don’t see her as a victim, I see myself as a victim. I am the victim because if she spoils, she spoils for me. I can’t settle it home. The law must take its course. This is evil. If we settle it now, does that mean she is no longer raped? No! Now, she knows about life. Nothing can change,”Lawson added.
This, many commentators have described as a bold step. The Liberian government says home settlement is hindering its fight against rape and other sexual crimes.
The Ministry of Gender says low conviction rate was due in part to families covering up rape by attackers related to their victims.
“Parents are compromising the cases because mostly the perpetrators are relatives or friends. We can say that the figure could be at least three times this if parents were not compromising,” the ministry is quoted by the French News Agency (AFP).
Mary was allegedly raped by 25 years old James last week at their residence in the Aluminum Community of Gardnersville in Monrovia.
According to Mary, she had gone to get the draw bucket in Phillip’s room, where it’s usually kept, when the alleged perpetrator forced her to sex and threatened to kill her if she shouted or told anyone afterwards.
“When I went for the draw bucket, he hold (held) my hand and started doing rude rude things to me. He closed my mouth, choked me and say he will kill me if I shout(ed) or told anyone,” Mary told me shortly after her medical examination over the weekend.