By Kyle James  |  07-06-2018   News
Photo credit: West African Journal Magazine

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) are responsible for locating a Liberian war criminal hiding in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Following their investigation, 72-year-old Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu was arrested and charged with immigration fraud and perjury. When Woewiyu entered the United States, he lied on his application for U.S. citizenship.

During the application process, Woewiyu committed fraud and perjury by denying "that he advocated the overthrow of any government by force or violence and by denying that he ever persecuted any person because of membership in a social group or their political opinion." The ICE and HSI investigation was aided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and found that Woewiyu is a founder and the former Minister of Defense, chief spokesperson, and negotiator for the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL). The NPFL was an armed rebel group led by Charles Taylor that was responsible for removing the Samuel Doe government from power by force in Liberia during the late 1980s.

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Throughout the years, Woewiyu publicly admitted to his prominent role in the NPFL and advocated overthrowing the Doe government with violent force. During Woewiyu's time with the NPFL, he was a part of a "particularly heinous and brutal military campaign, characterized by torture, rape, forced sexual slavery, conscription of child soldiers, and murder," according to ICE. At Woewiyu's trial, almost 20 Liberian victims testified about his role in the notoriously brutal first civil war from 1989 to 1995. Several of his victims described how they were forced to become child soldiers under Woewiyu in the NPFL.

Jurors also heard about how NPFL soldiers routinely cut off victim's body parts in front of Woewiyu. Other witnesses described checkpoints with skulls and severed heads on stakes that were still dripping blood and used intestines for ropes. The group is also responsible for the ethnically based massacre of an entire village.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Lol at Woewiyu’s children rolling their eyes at me in court today for reporting on the trial as if it wasn’t my childhood that was lost in the war due to NPFL actions while they were abroad living safe and sound</p>&mdash; Adrie Says (@Kou_Karkay) <a href="https://twitter.com/Kou_Karkay/status/1013912090317385731?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 2, 2018</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">If thousands of Liberian kids, from a very young age, had to cope with the loss of their parents due to the war, I&#39;m sure Woewiyu&#39;s grown kids can learn to cope with his conviction. They can always visit him at a federal penitentiary, unlike others whose parents are dead.</p>&mdash; Gee (@g2dmoq) <a href="https://twitter.com/g2dmoq/status/1014500592310419456?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 4, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Marlon V. Miller, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Philadelphia said, "Today’s verdict clearly demonstrates that this nation will never be a safe haven for human rights violators and war criminals." According to ICE, Woewiyu was found guilty of two counts of fraudulently attempting to obtain citizenship, two counts of fraud in immigration documents, two counts of false statements in relation to naturalization, and five counts of perjury. Following his conviction, Liberians celebrated Woewiyu's guilty verdict.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Celebrations in Liberia and the US over Woewiyu’s Guilty Verdict <a href="https://t.co/FmeMpL5dT7">https://t.co/FmeMpL5dT7</a> <a href="https://t.co/ic0wqD4uYD">pic.twitter.com/ic0wqD4uYD</a></p>&mdash; @NewRepublicLiberia2009 (@NewRepublicLib) <a href="https://twitter.com/NewRepublicLib/status/1014773413855092736?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 5, 2018</a></blockquote>

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U.S. Attorney McSwain said, "The defendant’s tenure as Minister of Defense for the NPFL was marked by almost unimaginable violence and brutality. He attempted to evade all accountability for his gruesome and horrific crimes by fraudulently obtaining U.S. citizenship. Due to the hard work and perseverance of our prosecutors and law enforcement partners, he has nowhere left to hide. Finally, this defendant has been brought to justice. I hope the conviction today can provide some comfort, however belated, to all of his victims and their families."

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Source: https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/liberian-war-criminal-living-delaware-county-convicted-immigration-fraud-and-perjury#wcm-survey-target-id

Twitter: #ICE #FBI #HSI #Liberia #CivilWar #NPFL #Woewiyu #GuiltyVerdict #WarCrimes
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Tab No. 30638 1530990494

I can feel the cultural enrichment….

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