The Liberian Daily Observer is reporting that a Liberian man by the name of Samuel Kofi Woods has offered to represent America’s first Ebola patient.
Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, who is currently in critical condition at Texas Presbyterian Hospital, reportedly violated Liberian law by flying to the United States while allegedly aware of the fact he had acquired the deadly virus. Liberian authorities are said to be preparing his prosecution should Duncan survive his bout with Ebola.
A Liberian Justice Ministry official told the newspaper: “This is a serious situation. The situation is critical and has legal implications.”
Woods has now come into the fray, suggesting that now is not the time for officials to be discussing the legality of Duncan’s trip to the United States. Woods, who previously served as Public Works Minister, said that Duncan should be afforded proper representation, and that the legal process needs to play out before the Ebola patient is pronounced guilty.
Woods added that many have been upset with measures taken by the Liberian government; telling the Observer that Liberia’s response in trying to contain the virus has been “woeful, inadequate and disjointed.” He continued, suggesting that the Liberian government’s clumsy response must also be evaluated in the whole of the case. “We will assemble the best legal team to put the Liberian government on trial, for failing the people of Liberia, rather than Mr. Duncan, a victim of institutional neglect,” said Woods.
“We know too well the trail of the countless displays of wholesale impunity, complicity, neglect and abuses that have occurred recently and over the years under the watchful eyes of this government. This list is endless,” he added.
Woods then turned his attention on Liberian society as a whole, stating, “we continue to commit moral sin and ethical transgression against the poor and weak. It is the poor, weak and powerless that are vulnerable to the caprices of our governments. We turn a blind eye to the theft and abuse that deprive them of basic social services, including health care, yet we are anxious to punish them, even before we gather all the facts. This must stop!” he concluded.
Ebola has “reached every county in Liberia,” according to the head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response. According to the most recent World Health Organization statistics, over 2,000 Ebola deaths have occurred in Liberia thus far.