Contributed By Maron Gullid
WASHINGTON, DC August 18, 2020 – In a recent interview by Monrovia’s Power9 TV-FM, infectious disease scientist, Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan has said that Liberia’s Justice Minister, Cllr. Musa Dean, should “concentrate on persecuting the high number of rape cases in the country.”
Dr. Nyan later told reporters that “laws should be enacted so that if convicted with scientific and other convincing evidence, the convicted rapists should be punished by castration, long jail time and counseling to deter rape and the prolific child molestation in Liberia.”
The infectious diseases scientist, Dr. Nyan, who is also a social activist further stated that “we have enough criminal situation in the country that the Justice Minister and the Justice Ministry should handle” instead of he [Justice Minister] being placed on a committee to investigate scientific and diagnostic matters at the National Public Health Institute of Liberia.
He added that “rape is now an epidemic or public health issue of its own that is competing with the COVID-19 pandemic in Liberia.”
According to empirical data “I believe that the rape cases have increased 10 to 20-fold during this COVID-19 Pandemic and these high number of rape cases have not been investigated,” Dr. Nyan said, adding that “this should concern the Justice Ministry as this is an imminent issue that needs to be addressed.”
As reported by the local daily FrontPage Africa in July this year, data from the Bureau of Corrections at the Ministry of Justice show more than 600 cases of rape, sodomy, aggravated assault, and sodomy with criminal intent were reported from around the country between January and June with a little over 100 cases being investigated.
Women’s and Children Rights activist, Tamia Patience S. Kotea in a Leterati Liberian Presents post stated that “we are cognizant of the fact that women and children rights are still being abused during this Covid-19 crisis … and we have constantly been involved with advocacy over the years.”
Many Anti-Rape advocate groups in and around Liberia have been staging protest demonstrations and web-based awareness activities aimed at drawing government attention.
Delton Domah, a youth Ambassador of the Friendship Ambassador Foundation and his group have organized a youth action against Rape and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence to be held on August 25 this year in Monrovia, Liberia’s Capital.
There has also been numerous sit-in actions staged at the Liberian police headquarters by a women’s group against rape and other forms of violence against women.
“Justice for rape victims has been too slow to come or non-existence at all partly due to corruption, and lack of institutional will and capacity to persecute cases which leads to impunity in some cases,” said Dr. Nyan.
He [Dr. Nyan] has emphasized that government and all political parties as well as social groups should pay more attention to women’s issues and the prolific child molestation in Liberia.
There has been a call for convicted rapists to face execution, the recent one coming from the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Major General Prince C. Johnson, who called for the introduction of a law that seeks death penalty for rapists in Liberia.
An infectious disease expert and inventor, Dr. Nyan is also a social activist who is in solidarity with women’s and children rights as well as democracy. His call for convicted rapists to be castrated and face long jail time has added to the national debate in Liberia as to which method of punishment could put an end to violence against women and end to molestation of children.
Main Photo: Dr. Dougbeh Chris Nyan, M.D. Speaking at John Hopkins University