The Korean Broadcasting System says the two Liberian officials arrested on suspicion of Rape might face not less than seventy years imprisonment if found guilty.
The two officials are Moses Owen Browne, Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the IMO, and Daniel Tarr, Director of the Department of Marine Environmental Protection.
According to South Korean Law on statutory rape, “A person who commits a crime prescribed in Article 297 (Rape) of the Criminal Act against a female with a physical or mental disability shall be punished by imprisonment for life or not less than seven years.
According to the South Korea rape law, rape occurs when an individual has consensual sexual intercourse with a person under the age 20 in Korean age. South Korea does not have a close-in-age exemption.
Even if found not guilty, it is expected that President George Weah should recall the Liberian diplomats as was done during President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf regime when Jay Napoleon Toquie, II and Chester Dweh Barh were expelled by the government of the United Kingdom for acts incomparable with their jobs as diplomats thereby placing a daunt on the image of the government and the country at the time.
According to reports, Toquie who was commissioned in 2007 as 1st Secretary and Consul of the Embassy of Liberia to Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Barh as Counselor at the Embassy in London were linked by dossier of evidences to alleged prostitution as well as fraud and money laundering within the Liberian Embassy.
What is even more troubling is that the current Foreign Minister, Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah, has been instructed to intervene in the matter reagrding the two maritime officials when he (Kemayah) has similar unsolved sex allegation hanging over him while serving as Ambassador in the United States.
Meanwhile, prosecutors are convinced that the Browne and Tarr committed the act of rape on two teenagers in the Busan hotel while attending the International Maritime Organization (IMO) GHG SMART Practical Training and Study Visit, in Seoul, the Republic of South Korean, from September 19-23, 2022.
South Korea has extradition treaty with 48 countries across the world except Liberia. LiMA has vowed to cooperate with the South Korean authorities in the aftermath of two of its staffers arrest on allegations of sexual assault and rape in the Port City of Busan, South Korea.
They were in South Korea attending the International Maritime Organization (IMO) GHG SMART practical training and study visit from September 19-23, 2022 when this alleged incident occurred.
LiMA said its unequivocally maintains a zero tolerance stance on any and all types of sexual and gender-based offenses, and views these allegations of the conduct of its Officials as most egregious, having no place in any civilized society.
It stated that it will fully cooperate with the Government of the Republic of South Korea in the investigation of this incident and vows to take appropriate actions, pursuant to national and international laws.
A video emerged from South Korean Police showing how the already detained Liberian diplomat and a Director resisted arrested at a hotel in the busy South Korean city of Busan.
The video shows how police used force bursting the door to the room of the hotel after persistent persuasion for the two Liberian Diplomats to go ahead with the Police directive to open the door following an emergency alert by a close associate of one of the rape victims in the hotel.
The two Liberian government officials were detained last Friday by South Korean police after being arrested on the spot at a hotel in the southeastern city of Busan on Thursday after a friend of the alleged victims reported the case to the Busan police.
A Seoul Foreign Ministry official said the ministry was reviewing whether the two Liberians were entitled to diplomatic immunity and that the police planned to seek formal arrest warrants for the two men, which would allow them to hold the suspects in custody for up to 10 days.
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