In a move to check violent crimes in the country, the Liberian legislature on Wednesday began debating a draft bill aimed at making armed robbery, rape, terrorism and hijacking first degree felonies that merit no bail for arrested suspects.
In a statement, the House of Representatives said the draft bill, proposed by Edward Forh of Montserrado County, proposed penalties ranging from life imprisonment to death by hanging for persons convicted of any of these crimes, especially if death occurred while committing the offence.
Forh accused armed bandits of “causing rape, murder, mayhem and arson besides dispossessing peaceful civilians, barely coping to put their lives together, of their properties”.
He called on his colleagues to “speedily enact the bill considering the spiraling waves of violent crimes like armed robberies and rape in the country”.
It is time to take decisive action against these violent crimes in our society,” the MP said.
He proposed the bill barely a week a after the Joint Security Forces embarked on a crackdown codenamed “operation thunderstorm” against armed bandits.
Meanwhile, the Criminal court in Monrovia Wednesday continued the trial of 10 armed robbery suspects that were since arrested under “operation thunderstorm”. They first appeared in court on Tuesday.
Frustrated residents of many communities have even threatened on call-in radio programmes to organise neighborhood vigilante teams that could be tempted to mete out mob justice to alleged armed robbers they arrest.