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Ex-Liberian official is charged in Philadelphia

May 13, 2014

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A former Liberian defense minister accused of lying about his past to become a U.S. citizen has been arrested on immigration charges.

The former official, Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu, appeared in federal court in Philadelphia on Tuesday. A detention hearing and arraignment was postponed until Friday.

An indictment charges that he served under Liberian President Charles Taylor in the early 1990s. The indictment links Woewiyu to their party’s campaign to execute political opponents, force girls into sex slavery and conscript boys to become child soldiers.

His lawyer, Ray Basso, says Woewiyu did not take part in any atrocities.

Woewiyu has been a legal permanent resident of the U.S. since 1972, with a current address in Collingdale, near Philadelphia.

He is charged with lying about his past on his citizenship application.

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