Liberia’s Criminal court in Monrovia on Friday acquitted two senior soldiers of the defunct Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) after being found not guilty for treason.
Colonel Andrew Dorbor and General Charles Julue had been on trial at the court since last July following their arrest. They were detained and charged for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
Dorbor was arrested in Cote d’Ivoire in February 2007 and brought to Liberia and detained at the National Security Agency (NSA) in Monrovia while General Julue was arrested in Monrovia in July 2007. Both men were charged with treason, which carries the maximum death penalty.
Presiding Judge Peter Gbeneweleh, who read a long ruling in an open courtroom packed by mostly people of the Krahn ethnic group of Dorbor and Julue, said both men were acquitted “because the prosecution failed to prove their charges beyond all reasonable doubts”.
He therefore ordered the men to be set free and advised the Liberian authorities to “restore to them all their rights and privileges as citizens of Liberia as prescribed in the Constitution”.
Hundreds of spectators immediately stampeded out of the courtroom into the court yard, which is just a stone’s from the Executive Mansion (state house), and broke branches of trees to begin a loud jubilation.