Fears for safety of students in Liberia
- By: Deborah Cohen
Amnnesty International has voiced concern about the safety of student protesters detained by security officers after a raid on the University of Liberia in Monrovia in March.
Dozens of students were reportedly whipped and beaten and women students were stripped naked after the special operation division, a unit of the security forces, brought to a halt a peaceful demonstration in support of four imprisoned journalists. The journalists, who worked for the Liberian newspaper The News, were detained and charged with espionage after publishing an article criticising the government's spending on spare parts for helicopters while delaying the payment of several months' wages to civil servants.
According to reports, students and professors were indiscriminately whipped and beaten, while some students were seen being taken away by the antiterrorist unit, an élite unit that has frequently been implicated in political killings and cases of torture. Amnesty International UK's director Kate Allen has