George Boley Is Lying

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
March 1, 2009


My childhood friend (Giorgio) and bother to the late Charles Gbanyon would like your papers to publish this article to counter George Boley's TRC testimony on this issue. We were only sophmores in college at the time but were old enough to recount the incident of 1985 as they unfolded...- William Yates

Please let it be known that George Boley is out right lying. It's amazing how the likes of Boley have not come to the realization that the Liberian people can no longer be misled. Especially in this information/internet age when everything can be fact checked. It would have well served him to say that he was not in control of the situation at the time. Yes we know and have come to accept the fact that Charles reached out to him in his hour of life or death and was let down. Mr. Boley, because of our faith, the Gbenyon family have long since forgiven you. It's time you forgive yourself by speaking the truth. You see, you're addressing a commission for truth and reconciliation and not lies and fabrication. Mr. Boley you had an opportunity to have brought the living or dead body of Charles Gbenyon to Sayon but you did not. You know it and the Liberian people know it, and thats the fact. May God continue to bless you.
Below: read various accounts of how Charles was killed. Mr. Burrowes also said that reporters practiced self-censorship after a Liberian television journalist, Charles Gbenyon, was killed inside the executive mansion in November 1985 several days after an unsuccessful coup attempt. According to the Government account at the time, Mr. benyon was killed in a scuffle with mansion guards when a gun he was carrying accidentally fired. But the New York-based Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, which promotes human rights and aids refugees around the world, quoted a witness as having said Mr. Gbenyon was killed by soldiers inside the mansion.

''The Government never investigated his death,'' Mr. Burrowes said. ''Until that issue is cleared up, the press will see it as a continuing imminent threat.'' From Article


Published: January 16, 1987 Liberians remember that the last outstanding case where their government withheld a corpse from a grieving family, turned out later to be that the victim was bayoneted to death under the watchful eyes of their President. That was in 1985, the victim was Charles Gbenyon and the president was Samuel Doe. On national television, President Doe told - what everyone knew was a boldfaced lie in the aftermath of the abortive Quiwonkpa's coup d'état - that law school student Gbenyon was accidentally killed while struggling with soldiers who were attempting to disarm and arrest him. Gbenyon's dismembered corpse was never given to his distressed family, in spite of pleas from many Liberians, including Catholic Bishop Michael Francis. Withholding the corpse of Officer Vampelt from his family is a clear reminder of the Gbenyon episode. This action by the Government, if it is true, serves to undermine the president's claim that Vampelt's death was a mere traffic calamity. From Article by Dr. William E. Allen

Another eyewitness relates the murder of a prominent broadcast journalist:

Charles Gbenyon, aged 29, was Editor-in-Chief of the Liberian Broadcasting System (LBS) television station. Throughout November 12, 1985, a crew from LBS filmed the coup attempt as it developed. They interviewed Quiwonkpa, and followed the rebel leader as he moved back and forth between the radio station and the BTC. They filmed the arrests of officials of the Doe regime during the early hours of the coup. They also captured vivid images of exultant Liberians celebrating what they thought was a successful coup. The resulting videotape, copies of which became easily obtainable, provides an extraordinary record of the events of November 12. Charles Gbenyon's decision to broadcast the videotape infuriated Doe. A day later, on November 13, Doe visited LBS studios to make a broadcast affirming that he had regained control of the country. Gbenyon, in his capacity as Editor-in-Chief, approached the Head of State to ask questions. According to press report, Doe shouted obscenities at Gbenyon. Then his security guards seized the journalist, beat him, and bundled him off in an army jeep as astonished reporters looked on. Gbenyon was last seen by his colleagues in the back of an army jeep, stripped down to his briefs and handcuffed. He was then taken to the Executive Mansion.5

Doe later claimed, through his press secretary, that Charles Gbenyon "accidentally shot himself while struggling with soldiers over a pistol said to have been in his possession." A soldier who was detained on the grounds of the Executive Mansion on November 13 stated without equivocation that Charles Gbenyon had indeed been bayoneted to death. "I actually saw his body," the soldier said. "He was a friend of mine, a personal friend. They had actually ripped his head off his body with a bayonet. The skin of his neck was just holding his head on his body. I didn't see any other stab wounds.From Article by Rachel Gbenyon Diggs

He narrated, “On the Morning of November 12, 1985, after General Thomas Quiwonkpa had given his speech, Charles left and came to my place early that morning and said "Koroe", as we used to called each other, 'we need to follow this story because it is a big one'. "So we droved at the Radio Station by 6 a.m. We met Mr. Quiwonkpa who appeared confused and we talked with him briefly while people were seen in the street jubilating. We wanted to read a story but we didn’t have chance to do it, so we tried to go to the Mansion but were driven away by some soldiers. Mr. Quiwonkpa was driving around in a vehicle and later he disappeared. We were trying to edit the story to play that night, but by 3-4p.m., shooting broke up and we fled the station and later on that day, Doe announced that he was still the President."

Summoned by Doe

Charles told me that Wednesday that they were looking for us. On Thursday November 14, 1985 I was told that I was needed by the Chief and was taken to the Mansion, but I heard that when President Doe was viewing the body of Quiwonkpa, Reporter Charles Gbenyon went up and asked “Mr. President how do you feel about what went on and then President Doe said ‘is it now you know that I’m your president? Take him away’ and the soldiers threw Mr. Gbenyon into a pickup took him to the mansion where he was killed." From Article by Kwame Clement.

1985: Human rights abuses occurred on a substantial scale in the wake of the coup attempt of 12 November. In the days following its failure, AI received reports of political killings by government forces in Nimba County, the home area of the leader of the coup, Brigadier-General Thomas Quiwonkpa. The victims appeared mostly to be civilians who had not been involved in the conspiracy but who were suspected by the government of being sympathetic to Thomas Quiwonkpa.

AI was particularly concerned about a number of people unconnected with the coup who were reported to have been killed: Charles Gbenyon, a senior television journalist working for the Liberian Broadcasting System, who was killed at the official residence of Head of State Doe a few days after the coup. (AI Annual Report 1986) From Article by Amnesty International

The worst example of this treatment occurred in November 1985, when my Liberian colleague Charles Gbenyon, a young enterprising television journalist, was arrested and butchered to death upon orders of then military ruler Samuel Kanyon Doe, reportedly for his antigovernment reporting. Gbenyon was arrested in the wake of a failed military coup to depose Doe, which turned very violent and bloody as Doe's regime unleashed a brutal wave of reprisal against real and perceived enemies. It was an act of courage that Gbenyon chose to go out into the field and report unfolding developments amid the mass chaos that was dangerously life threatening. From Article by Issac Bantu

© 2009 by The Perspective

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