Lawyers freed after three months in detention

Two Liberian lawyers were released this week after three months' detention for "contempt" of the the lower house of parliament, diplomatic sources in the capital, Monrovia, confirmed to IRIN.

Marcus Jones and Ishmael Campbell had been detained since September for describing as unconstitutional the detention of Bar Association President Emmanuel Wureh on the order of the House of Representatives. They were also accused of "inciting other lawyers to boycott all court proceedings".

Lawyers had staged a four-week boycott to protest the jailing of their two colleagues.

"According to the Liberian constitution, anyone held on a contempt of parliament charge should be released automatically when parliament goes into recession," a diplomat told IRIN on Thursday.

"The resolution to have the two released was taken at a plenary session before Christmas Day. They should have been out of prison by then - but there was a delay, so they only got out after Christmas," the source explained.

The PanAfrican News Agency (PANA) reported on Thursday that the speaker of parliament, Nyundueh Monokomana, released the men following the intervention of President Charles Taylor "on humanitarian and reconciliatory grounds".