The U.S. Government’s immigration fraud case against Liberian citizen, Pennsylvania resident and alleged war criminal Jabbateh, a/k/a “Jungle Jabbah” begins on October 2, 2017 in Philadelphia. Jabbateh has been charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with two counts of fraud in immigration documents and two counts of perjury.
During the course of the trial victims and witnesses of war crimes in Liberia will testify against the accused.The trial is a unique and historical step by the US attorney’s office to present a case of war crimes in a national courtroom. The indictment, which was unsealed on April 13, 2016, can be viewed here.
The US Attorney has stated: “This defendant allegedly committed unspeakable crimes in his home country, brutalizing numerous innocent victims. He then sought to escape to the United States where he lied about his criminal background on federal immigration forms. This office will use whatever tools are available to bring to justice serious criminals who abuse our immigration process by concealing their background and history.”
The Homeland Security Officer responsible for his arrest stated: “The United States has always welcomed refugees and those fleeing oppression, but we will not be a safe haven for alleged human rights violators and war criminals.”
If convicted, Jabbateh faces a maximum possible sentence of 30 years in prison.
The trial will take place at the James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse, 601 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
In December of 1998, when making his application for asylum and later for permanent legal residency, the US Attorney alleges, the defendant was not truthful about his activities during Liberia’s first civil war while he was a member of The United Liberation Movement for Democracy in Liberia (ULIMO) and later ULIMO-K, a rebel group that battled for control of Liberia. Jabbateh was a commander or higher ranking officer in ULIMO and ULIMO-K. According to the indictment, Jabbateh, during his time as a ULIMO commander or higher ranking officer, either personally committed, or ordered ULIMO troops under his command to commit the following nonexclusive list of acts:
1. the murder of civilian non-combatants;
2. the sexual enslavement of women;
3. the public raping of women;
4. the maiming of civilian non-combatants;
5. the torturing of civilian non-combatants
6. the enslavement of civilian non-combatants
7. the conscription of child soldiers;
8. the execution of prisoners of war;
9. the desecration and mutilation of corpses; and
10. the killing of persons because of race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin or political opinion.
According to the indictment, the defendant knew his answer was false in that he had ordered, incited, assisted, and otherwise participated in the killing of any person because of religion, nationality, ethnic origin, and political opinion; and knew that he had procured asylum in the United States by fraud and willful misrepresentation of material fact.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Linwood C. Wright, Jr. and Assistant United States Attorney Nelson S.T. Thayer. Thayer was previously a Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and prosecuted the massacre in Srebrenica, Bosnia.