A federal jury has convicted a Liberian war criminal of immigration fraud and perjury after federal authorities charged the man with lying on his immigration application regarding his past anti-government violent activities including advocating rape, murder, child soldiers, and torture.
According to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement press release on July 3rd, Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu “lied on his application for U.S. citizenship by denying that he advocated the overthrow of any government by force or violence and by denying that he ever persecuted any person because of membership in a social group or their political opinion.”
Apparently, Woewiyu is “a founder and the former Minister of Defense, chief spokesperson, and negotiator for the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), which was an armed rebel group led by Charles Taylor and committed to removing the Samuel Doe government forcibly from power in Liberia in the late 1980s and 1990s.”
During his time with the NPFL, the group committed “torture, rape, forced sexual slavery, conscription of child soldiers, and murder” from 1989 to 1995. Nearly 20 liberians testified in front the grand jury against Woewiyu. The jury also heard of “NPFL soldiers cutting off victims’ body parts in front of Woewiyu, while others described checkpoints with skulls and severed heads on stakes (some still dripping with blood) and intestines for ropes, as well as the ethnically based massacre of a village at the hands of the NPFL.”
“The defendant’s tenure as Minister of Defense for the NPFL was marked by almost unimaginable violence and brutality,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “He attempted to evade all accountability for his gruesome and horrific crimes by fraudulently obtaining U.S. citizenship. Due to the hard work and perseverance of our prosecutors and law enforcement partners, he has nowhere left to hide. Finally, this defendant has been brought to justice. I hope the conviction today can provide some comfort, however belated, to all of his victims and their families.”
According to the press release, ICE has "arrested more than 410 individuals for human rights-related violations of the law under various criminal and/or immigration statutes." Woewiyu, who went by Tom Smith in the United States, was tracked down thanks to an "ICE and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) led investigation, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)."
The conviction of this brutal criminal comes as "Occupy ICE" protesters in Philadelphia and elsewhere call for the abolition of the federal agency responsible for the arrest.