Agnes Taylor’s Family Cites Financial Gains…For Allegation Against Her
By Morrison O.G. Sayon
More startling revelations are emerging in what family members term as the unlawful arrest and imprisonment of Dr. Agnes Reeves Taylor, ex-wife of former President Charles G. Taylor, on alleged charges of ‘historical war crimes relating to Liberia.
The lawsuit against Dr. Agnes Reeves Taylor was advanced by Civitas Maxima, a Non-Government Organization (NGO) based in Zurich, Switzerland through its subsidiary, Global Justice and Research Project headed by Hassan Bility.
Laurice Reeves Bryant, sister of Agnes Taylor denied all allegations brought against her sister saying that Dr. Reeves’ Taylor was at no time a part of any military command during the Liberian Civil War, nor did she ever exert any command and control over the military wing of any warring faction or in a position of authority to command or control troops at any time.
In an exclusive interview, Madam Bryant said evidence shows that Dr. Reeves Taylor was only involved in humanitarian work and did not supervise or control any aspect of military operations during that time as was alleged by Mr. Hassan Bility and his organization.
Madam Reeves-Bryant believes that Mr. Bility is venting his anger on Dr. Reeves-Taylor to revenge her connection to former President Taylor and is at the same time using the case to raise fund for his Global Justice and Research Project group that is producing witnesses against Madam Agnes Taylor.
“The impartiality of Hassan Bility’s Global Justice and Research Project being used to produce witnesses and evidence against my sister is questionable, considering that he was a primary witness against her ex-husband, former President Charles Taylor at his trial in the Hague, The Netherlands,” said Madam Reeves-Bryant who is on a visit to Liberia.
Laurice Bryant has raised serious concern about the unlawful arrest and imprisonment of Dr. Agnes Reeves Taylor who is in jail on alleged charges of ‘historical war crimes relating to Liberia’, advanced by Civitas Maxima, a Non-Government Organization (NGO) based in Zurich, Switzerland through its subsidiary, Global Justice and Research Project headed by Hassan Bility, a known member of one of the disbanded warring factions of the Liberian Civil War.
Giving a history of the Liberian civil unrest that started on December 24, 1989, Laurice Bryant said, “ECOWAS heads of state in 2003 took a position regarding the Liberian peace process to which all parties were signatories thereby resulting in the restoration of peace under the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord which ushered in the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) with a mandate to “promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation.”
“From May 2005, the Liberian TRC investigated hundreds of thousands of reports, took written or oral statements and conducted hearings of human rights violations and abuses committed over the past years and set out the results of their investigations in its final report of 2009. The report said alleged victims were traced globally to allow them to confront those who they believed had participated in abuses against them during the Liberian Civil War,” she added.
According to Madam Bryant, throughout the process, Dr. Reeves Taylor was never cited as a person of interest or accused of committing any war crimes in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) testimonies or its final report of 2009 submitted to and accepted by the Liberian government and the international community including the UK, nor has Liberia requested her arrest or extradition for any crimes.
She disclosed that Dr. Reeves Taylor was arrested at her home in London on June 1, 2017 by the London Metropolitan Police, interrogated for two days consecutively, charged with alleged and unsubstantiated war crimes and kept in isolation for 12 days without any contact with her family based solely on accusations made by Civitas Maxima of Zurich, Switzerland through its subsidiary, Global Justice and Research Project headed by Hassan Bility covering 1990.
“Following her incarceration, the London Metropolitan Police acting on the authority of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) published a report of her arrest (providing details of her full address to the press) and claimed war crime charges on the internet and in local and international newspapers as well as invited people living in Liberia to provide evidence against Dr. Reeves Taylor relating to crimes which remain unsubstantiated and unproven, a clear violation of best practice in police evidence gathering procedures,” the older sister of Dr. Reeves-Taylor further disclosed.
She said best practice demands that evidence is gathered to substantiate an accusation before an arrest is made something that was ignored by the London Metropolitan Police acting on the authority of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
“The CPS subsequently dispatched high-ranking officers to Liberia to gather sole exculpatory evidence of crimes she is alleged to have committed after her arrest; a further manifestation of its violation of best practice by first placing a charge and thereafter looking for evidence to prosecute,” Laurice Bryant said.
Laurice said the London Metropolitan Police on their travel to Liberia after her arrest to find evidence to substantiate the allegations also overlooked exculpatory evidence and statements from people in Liberia, who were close to Dr. Reeves Taylor and worked with her in relief efforts during the period she is accused of committing the crimes.
“Since Dr. Reeves Taylor’s imprisonment at HM Bronzefield on 3rd June 2017, only two members of her family have been cleared for visitation, even though proper documents have been submitted, a clear violation of her human rights. As an un-convicted prisoner, she ought to be treated as not guilty and adequately supported in conformity with the Prison Act 1952. Instead, her rights as a prisoner on remand are being further violated by endurances of a poor and strict prison regime,” the sister informed this paper during the interview.
Laurice said Dr. Reeves Taylor was charged under the `Universal Jurisdiction’ law which states that a person must be acting in an official capacity, documented evidence submitted to the prosecution clearly shows that she was never an official of any faction in the Liberian Civil War, but merely then wife of the leader of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL).
Madam Reeves-Bryant clarified that Dr. Reeves Taylor was at no time a part of any military command during the Liberian Civil War, nor did she ever exert any command and control over the military wing of any warring faction or in a position of authority to command or control troops at any time.
She said Dr. Reeves Taylor is not a British citizen but has been a resident of the UK for 20 years. “Therefore, I cannot fathom why UK authorities are going to such lengths, spending hundreds of thousands of pounds in pursuing a matter that does not benefit its citizens, especially since she is not accused of committing any crimes in her own country nor is she a threat to anyone here or abroad or to public interest. She has never broken any UK laws. I can only conclude that this is a political witch hunt to further persecute associates of former Liberian President Charles Taylor,” Reeves Bryant said.
Laurice Reeves-Bryant said her sister, Dr. Reeves Taylor is totally innocent of the crimes she’s been accused of and is suffering unfairly for alleged crimes she did not commit nor would have condoned. “In fact, she is a victim of an overzealous NGO and its subsidiary seeking to justify its existence and reason for funding. Had the police thoroughly investigated the allegations brought against Dr. Reeves Taylor before her arrest; they would have discovered that they are untrue and only a fragment of the imaginations of Hassan Bility and his band of witnesses advanced solely for personal gain and revenge,” Madam Reeves-Bryant among other things, concluded.