Liberian Government’s Open Apology to Jailed Former Chief Justice Gloria Musu-Scott Sparks Mixed Reactions

Liberian Government’s Open Apology to Jailed Former Chief Justice Gloria Musu-Scott Sparks Mixed Reactions

MONROVIA – The Government of Liberia’s decision to openly apologize to jailed Chief Justice Gloria Musu-Scott for ‘psychological distress’ and grant her rare access to hold a press conference inside the prison has sparked mixed reactions from the public.

By Gerald C. Koinyeneh – gerald.koinyeneh@frontpageafricaonline.com

On Saturday, Solicitor General Cllr. Augustine C. Fayiah led a team of government officials and journalists to the Monrovia Central Prison. There, they requested the head of the prison to bring out Justice Scott to debunk media reports and rumors that she had been granted compassionate leave by the Government of Liberia.

Ironically, Cllr. Fayiah is the lead defense lawyer for Musu-Scott and relatives.

‘We apologize’

At the conference, Deputy Minister of Information Daniel Sando apologized on behalf of the government for a “fake media report” that had caused “psychological distress” to Musu-Scott and her relatives.

“On behalf of the government, we sincerely apologize for whatever level of psychological damage this fake news being reported in the media may have caused you and other relatives who are here at the Monrovia Central Prison,” Sando stated.

In response, Justice Scott said, “This is a continuation of the cruel and inhumane treatment. We take note.” She added, “We are hoping that the government is interested in continuing this investigation. Since we were sentenced, a lot of information has been coming up that confirms what we have been saying all along—that we are innocent. And this particular entry, intrusion into my premises, proves also that we are innocent.”

FrontPageAfrica had reported that Justice Musu-Scott had requested permission from the Ministry of Justice to visit her home to take inventory of losses and damage caused by intruders. Documents obtained by FrontPageAfrica show Justice Musu-Scott’s request was considered compassionate leave that led prison official seeking US$226 to facilitate her visit.

Figure 1Documents obtained by FrontPageAfrica show Justice Musu-Scott’s request was considered compassionate leave that led prison official seeking US$226 to facilitate her visit.

The documents included a communication dated May 20, 2024, in which Sainleseh Kwaidah, Director of Prisons at the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation, informed Cllr. Alhaji Swaliho A. Sessay, County Attorney of Montserrado County, that the request was considered compassionate leave. The communication stated, “The office of the Director of Prisons hereby considers the communication as a request for compassionate leave by Inmate Gloria Musu Scott, jointly convicted and sentenced to life on January 9, 2024, by Judge Roosevelt Willie of Criminal Court A for the crime of Murder, Criminal Conspiracy, and False Report to Law Enforcement Officials.”

Additionally, in a letter dated June 11, 2024, Kwaidah requested US$226 to provide an escort for Justice Musu-Scott during her visit. “We present our compliments and request your indulgence and approval for funds for an escort team of Correction and LNP officers to undertake the compassionate leave requested by inmate Gloria Musu Scott to visit her home to conduct an appropriate inventory of losses and damage done by intruders… In view of the above, we request your approval of Two Hundred Twenty-six United States Dollars (USD 226.00) to carry on the exercise.”

‘Break-in proves our innocence’

Unlike most prisoners, Justice Scott, dressed in a formal suit, head tie, and reading glasses, told journalists that she had requested the Ministry of Justice to grant her permission to visit her home to take stock of the loss and damage incurred after criminals broke in.

She said that in February, her home in Virginia was burglarized, and the police had issued a “faulty” charge on the suspects that would be quashed by any judge—a clever attempt to set the criminals free. She said that without consulting any family members, the police estimated the value of the stolen items at US$4,000. As a result, she wanted to visit her home to conduct an inventory that would lead to filing a proper lawsuit. She said the court found them guilty based on the police’s report that there were no signs of a break-in at the house. Since the alleged criminals entered her house using keys, she noted that the police’s argument that led to their conviction has been defeated.

“The police had said there was nobody in the house because the house was locked. So, we have to be the murderers. So, that theory of the police is lost. And the fact that they had keys, and some of us who are the defendants heard this person or these persons asking this girl for keys, asking Charloe for keys, as she was being stabbed.”

She added, “Now, these people had keys. And we wrote the minister and said, ‘Look, the whole scenario is set, so that these people who entered my premises can get away with what they have been doing. And the way the rate is written, clearly anyone can quash that rate and that will be the end of the whole thing. And the fact that these people had keys, it’s critical. It needed deeper investigation.’”

Justice Musu Scott, 70, along with three female relatives, was sentenced to life in prison for the brutal murder of her niece, Charloe Musu. The conviction was delivered by Judge Roosevelt Willie of Criminal Court A, following a jury’s decision which found Musu-Scott guilty of orchestrating the intentional and malicious infliction of severe bodily injuries on her 29-year-old niece last June. The victim sustained wounds to her chest, right hand, left thigh, and left armpit, inflicted with a sharp instrument believed to be a knife.

During the trial, Musu-Scott maintained her innocence, claiming that Charloe Musu was killed by an unknown assailant who entered her home in Virginia, the outskirt of the capital, Monrovia. The arrest, trial and sentence marked the fall from grace of one of Liberia’s most famous judges and politicians, who prided herself as a champion of women rights.

However, Musu Scott’s legal team, led by Cllr. Augustine Fayiah, has filed an appeal to the Supreme Court, hoping to overturn the ruling on appeal.

Mixed Reactions

Compassionate release is a process by which inmates in criminal justice systems may be eligible for immediate early release due to “particularly extraordinary or compelling circumstances which could not reasonably have been foreseen by the court at the time of sentencing.” Also known as medical release, medical parole, medical furlough, or humanitarian parole, these procedures can be mandated by the courts or internal corrections authorities. Unlike regular parole, compassionate release is not based on a prisoner’s behavior or sentencing but rather on medical or humanitarian changes in the prisoner’s situation.

Legal pundits argue that Justice Musu’s request has no basis for compassionate leave.

“The compassionate leave is for an inmate who is so sick that they would want her home before death. Compassionate leave can also be granted for an inmate to attend the funeral of a child, spouse, or parent,” a legal expert, requesting anonymity, commented on the issue.

The lawyer added that while inmates may be allowed press interviews with the approval of the prison director, it was wrong to parade Justice Musu-Scott for “government propaganda.”

Charles Anders, an FPA online reader, commented: “All things considered, a helpless child was brutally murdered under the roof of the former Chief Justice. From the very outset, instead of assisting law enforcement in the investigation of this barbaric crime, the defendants began finger-pointing at political opponents as perpetrators of the act! To this date, there is no remorse shown by the convicted perpetrators!”

Anders added: “Weighing the heinousness of the crime and the age of the convicted former justice, it is my opinion that Compassionate Leave should be granted only on serious medical grounds supported by neutral medical professionals. LET’S THINK OF YOUNG MISS CHARLOE MUSU who lost her life in a brutal manner for no fault of her own by someone so powerful who was her adopted mother. It is truly sad.”

But Bill Koiblee, another follower, welcome the move: “Cllr. Musu Scott, God will always be with you after the sinister behaviors of the CDC government by politicizing the death of your daughter. This is one of the numerous ills orchestrated by the former president and his CDC officials that caused the Liberian people to vote the corrupt CDC administration out in October 2023.”

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