Civil debt detainee dies in police detention in Liberia

Family of the dead detainee demand a probe into his death amid allegations that Police Commander Harry Bai runs the police station in which the death occurred like a private home.

All Africa reports on the basis of a report in the New Dawn of Monrovia that family members of Mohammed Diallo, who died in the police cells Sunday 30 April at the Airfield Police Station, also known as Salem Depot in Sinkor, are demanding an explanation from authorities of the Liberia National Police on the cause of death.

New Dawn has established that the deceased had been in prison since 20 April 2012 for owing one of his colleagues LD430 (US $6). Mohammed is alleged to have died when the Commander of the Salem Depot, Harry Bai, pepper sprayed the cell, causing three inmates to faint and leading to the death of Diallo. Relatives of the deceased said he was not sick when he was detained and described him as a very calm boy in the community.

Residents of the Airfield Community are calling on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to intervene to bring justice to the alleged murderer of Mohammed Diallo. Community members allege that Commander Bai brags that he can do anything and nothing will come from out of it because he is a member of the Mansonic Craft or masonry. Sources close to Bai allege he is law unto himself, running the police station like his private home. Residents of the Airfield community have threatened to protest if the police do not take serious action against Bai.

Imprisonment for civil debt is one of the "outdated offences" targeted for repeal across Africa by a PPJA campaign.


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