BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – Prosecution lawyers representing the Liberian government in the Sinoe gang rape and murder trial have filed a motion of correction to the Second Judicial Circuit Court to push for harsher sentencing for the defendants.
The seven defendants, including Moses Solo, Teah Gmawlue, Sylvester Charty, Dennis P. Pyne, Victor Solo, Tweh Kelgbeh, and Alex Karpeh, were found guilty on August 30 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. However, prosecutors are calling for life imprisonment.
The case stems from a December 12, 2018 incident where three women were stripped naked, paraded, and gang-raped in Johnny Town, Nomorpoe District, Sinoe. They were accused of witchcraft and one of the women, Willette Nyewallah, was murdered and buried secretly in a swamp.
The defendants were charged with murder, gang rape, aggravated assault, criminal facilitation, and criminal conspiracy, and the case was transferred to the Second Judicial Circuit Court to avoid interference from powerful members of the traditional society.
On September 12, Assistant Justice Minister Wesseh A. Wesseh argued that even though Judge Joe Barkon said he found the evidence provided by the state to be weighty and convincing, he was lenient in his sentencing.
“That movant further contends that your honor also inadvertently overlooked the fact that the defendant brutally beat and had sexual intercourse with the victims when they inserted their penises into the vagina of the victims, thus resulting to the death of the deceased Willette Nyewallah, who they buried at a secret location under extreme indifference to the values of human life,” he said.
“Thus the crime of murder should be treated by your honor as a capital offense of the felony of the first degree, gang rape as a second degree felony in consideration of the ages of the victims, aggravated assault as a second degree felony, and criminal conspiracy and facilitation as misdemeanors of the first degree respectively.”
He moved for the judge to sentence the defendants “to life imprisonment as in keeping with the penal law of Liberia.”
The court will decide on September 16 whether the motion will be accepted or denied.
Featured photo by Sampson David