By David Menjor, Daily Observer Liberia
Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abel Massalay has expressed fear that time might go against efforts to free Dr. Malachi Z.K. York, if the Liberian government does not act in an appropriate and timely manner to get him out of jail.
Massalay informed the Daily Observer recently via mobile phone that while he is against the culture of impunity, crime related cases have magnitudes of differing proportions and diplomacy should be respected at all times, regardless of the size of a country involved with another said to be supreme.
Dr. York is being placed behind the maximum prison facilities of ADMAX in Colorado, United States of America for 135 years on multiple crimes.
“I came in touch with Dr. York’s case when I served as Acting Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in some part of 2004 in the absence of Thomas Yayah, then Minister of Foreign Affairs during the National Transitional Government. Cllr. Francis Garlawulo, now deceased, wrote the Foreign Affairs Ministry in 2004, presenting his case about Dr. York’s Liberian citizenship acquired by naturalization as a provision in our constitution,” Massalay said.
He added that after reviewing all the papers, it was confirmed true that Dr. York indeed came to Liberia in 1999, and took on the Liberian citizenship and subsequently received an appointment to serve as Consul General in Athens, Atlanta Georgia.
“As for the merit and demerit of the case in which he was implicated, I cannot speak to them, but what I know is that if only he renounced his US citizenship as provided for by the US law, he should be freed and given persona non grata. Liberia should be his home country, to which he should be deported,” Massalay said.
He said Dr. York, now 73, stands the risk of dying in prison soon than he should if the Liberian government does not act fast. He added that York is an old man rich in knowledge and wisdom and has the capacity to unite a divided people as he has exemplified that with a lot of people of Negro descent in the US.
According to an August 17, 2004 Diplomatic Request, which was submitted by the Foreign Affairs Ministry to the US Embassy in Monrovia, Dr. York should have been immediately declared Persona Non Grata, and deported to Liberia, his home country by naturalization, as provided for by international law on citizenship. The Doctrine of Reciprocity in international relations and treaties, states that favors, benefits, or penalties that are granted by one state to the citizens or legal entities of another, should be returned in kind.
For instance, an Indian Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade was arrested on December 12, 2013, in New York by federal agents working at the Indian Consulate in New York City, NY in the United States. According to the Associated Press U.S. authorities subjected her to a strip search, cavity search and DNA swabbing following her arrest on visa charges in New York City, despite her assertions of immunity. According to CNN, in response to her arrest “Indian officials summoned U.S. Ambassador to India, Nancy Powell and took away her U.S. diplomats’ identification cards that gave them diplomatic benefits and removed security barriers outside the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.”
In the 11-page complaint against Devyani Khobragade it alleged she had promised in the visa application under which her housekeeper moved from India to the United States to pay her at least $9.75 per hour, the minimum wage in New York, and to require that she work no more than 40 hours per week. But the complaint alleges that Khobragade then had the housekeeper, who has been identified as Sangeeta Richard, sign a second contract, which paid her less than $3.31 per hour and required that she work much longer hours. The US requested waiver of immunity (of Devyani Khobragade). India denied that request.
The next day Khobragade was granted exit from the United States to India after a heated protest from the Indian community in the U.S.
A case in point about the U.S. Concerns about its citizens and their authoritative demands is the case involving Joshua Holt, an American Citizen who, Venezuelan authorities claim he and his wife were stockpiling weapons, and have suggested they were part of a U.S. plan to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro. A State Department official told Fox News recently that the agency remained concerned about the health and fate of this Utah man who had been jailed in Venezuela since 2016 on what his attorney and family characterized as trumped-up charges. The agency, which had denounced the Venezuelan government for routinely denying U.S. consular officers visits with Joshua Holt at the Caracas jail where he was being held with his wife, a Venezuelan national, told Fox News that U.S. officials were able to see the 26-year-old man on Feb. 9 of this year.
This is very similar in the case of Dr. Malachi York whereas the Liberian Embassy in the United States made an attempt according to a letter that is currently in the possession of the Daily Observer, the then Deputy Chief of Mission Jeff Gongoer Dowana Sr. and Mr. Christopher Nippy, First Secretary for Political and Consular Affairs communicated a Consular Visit Request to the Legal Department for the USP Florence ADMAX facility in Florence Colorado. That visit had been denied just as had been done for previous attempts to visit him.
Also similarly the United States claimed the charges the Venezuelan Government had alleged against Joshua Holt were Trumped up the Liberian Government communicated this same information to the United States in the form of the Amicus Brief that was submitted to the United States Courts also stating Dr. Malachi York aka Dwight York was innocent of all the charges. The Amicus Brief (judgment) noted that the sentence of 135 years is disproportionate with the penalty of such offense under Liberian Law and that the defendant was sentenced under U.S. Federal Sentencing Guidelines that are said to have been ruled unconstitutional as applied in Dr. York’s case.
There were grave concerns by the United States regarding Joshua Holt’s health but in the case of Dr. York’s health issues, nothing has yet been done about it.