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U.S. District Court Convicts Mohammad Jabbateh of Perjury and Immigration Fraud for Concealing His Role as Former Liberian Warlord “Jungle Jabbah”

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In the spring of 2016, U.S. prosecutors charged Mohammad Jabbateh with four counts of perjury and immigration fraud for making false statements during his pursuit of asylum and later permanent legal residency in the United States. At the time of the indictment, Jabbateh was a Liberian national living in East Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, and the owner of a shipping company. The indictment charged that Jabbateh lied to U.S. immigration officials to conceal the role he played in Liberia's first civil war as the warlord “Jungle Jabbah.” In October of 2017, a jury convicted Jabbateh on all four counts. Jabbateh is reportedly the first person prosecuted and found guilty in connection with atrocities carried out during Liberia's first civil war, which ran from 1989 to 1997.

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1 United States v. Jabbateh, Crim. No. 2:16-CR-00088, Indictment (E.D. Pa. Apr. 13, 2016), available at https://www.justice.gov/usao-edpa/file/840546/download [https://perma.cc/SC73-NQWQ] [hereinafter Indictment].

2 Roebuck, Jeremy, In Historic Verdict, Delco Man Convicted in ‘Jungle Jabbah’ War Crimes Case , Phil. Inquirer (Oct. 18, 2017), at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/pennsylvania/philadelphia/delco-man-guilty-of-immigration-fraud-in-jungle-jabbah-war-crimes-case-20171018.html.

3 See Indictment, supra note 1, at 7–13.

4 U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Press Release, Liberian National Found Guilty of Immigration Fraud and Perjury (Oct. 18, 2017), at https://www.justice.gov/usao-edpa/pr/liberian-national-found-guilty-immigration-fraud-and-perjury [https://perma.cc/N4DE-FCGE] [hereinafter Oct. 18 U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Press Release].

5 Roebuck, In Historic Verdict, Delco Man Convicted in ‘Jungle Jabbah’ War Crimes Case, supra note 2; see also Civitas Maxima & Global Justice and Research Project Press Release, U.S. Court Finds Liberian Rebel Commander “Jungle Jabbah” Guilty of Crimes Linked to Atrocities in Liberia's First Civil War (Oct. 18, 2017), available at https://www.civitas-maxima.org/sites/default/files/docs/2017-10/cm_171018_press_release_jungle_jabbah_verdict-1_1.pdf (“To date, no one has been held to account [regarding the first civil war] in Liberia, and the trial against Jabbateh is the first confrontation of the crimes committed during the first civil war in a foreign country.”).

6 Indictment, supra note 1, at 3.

7 Id. at 8.

8 Id.

9 Roebuck, Jeremy, ‘Jungle Jabbah's’ War: Accused Liberian's Own Story Emerges in Court , Phil. Inquirer (Oct. 5, 2017), at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/crime/jabbateh-jabateh-jungle-jabbah-liberian-war-crimes-philly-trial-20171005.html.

10 Id.

11 Id.

12 Indictment, supra note 1, at 9.

13 Id.

14 Id.

15 Id.

16 U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Press Release, Immigration Charges Unsealed Against Liberian National (Apr. 13, 2016), at https://www.justice.gov/usao-edpa/pr/immigration-charges-unsealed-against-liberian-national [https://perma.cc/2RYS-9DAD]; U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Press Release, Liberian National Found Guilty of Immigration Fraud, Perjury (Oct. 18, 2017), at https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/liberian-national-found-guilty-immigration-fraud-perjury [https://perma.cc/K8XB-N53Q].

17 Roebuck, In Historic Verdict, Delco Man Convicted in ‘Jungle Jabbah’ War Crimes Case, supra note 2.

18 Roebuck, Jeremy, Witness: They Murdered My Husband, Then Ordered Me to Boil His Heart , Phil. Inquirer (Oct. 11, 2017), at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/pennsylvania/philadelphia/jungle-jabbah-philly-jabateh-jabbateh-liberian-war-crimes-20171011.html.

19 Roebuck, Jeremy, Jurors Could Begin Weighing Charges in ‘Jungle Jabbah’ Warlord Trial , Phil. Inquirer (Oct. 16, 2017), at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/pennsylvania/philadelphia/jungle-jabbah-liberian-warlord-lansdowne-trial-20171016.html.

20 Oct. 18 U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Press Release, supra note 4.

21 Id.

22 Roebuck, In Historic Verdict, Delco Man Convicted in ‘Jungle Jabbah’ War Crimes Case, supra note 2.

23 Id.

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American Journal of International Law
  • ISSN: 0002-9300
  • EISSN: 2161-7953
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