Tiawan Saye Gongloe
Tiawan Saye Gongloe "has been at the forefront of the struggle for justice in Liberia for the past two decades. A graduate of the University of Liberia 's Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, Gongloe was a lawyer and managing director of a law firm in Monrovia from 1994 until 2002. During this time, he defended the rights of the poor, indigent clients, and government critics illegally detained or charged with politically-motivated crimes. His clients included independent journalists, pro-democracy advocates and human rights defenders. Prior to 1994, Gongloe held the position of executive assistant to the President of the Interim Government of Liberia. In this capacity he provided legal advice and assistance to the Interim President and participated in many of the peace conferences organized by ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) as a member of the Interim Government's delegation. Following the end of the civil war in 1997, Gongloe emerged as one of Liberia 's preeminent human rights lawyers. An unwavering critic of the abuses of the Liberian government under Charles Taylor, on April 24, 2002, Gongloe was arrested without charge by the police and severely beaten. By the following morning, he had been brutalized so severely that he was unable to stand. Following pressure from local and international groups, the government transferred him to a hospital. Fearing that he would be rearrested and tortured upon his release, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International helped Gongloe and his family to leave Liberia. During his time at the Carr Center, Gongloe plans to examine the failings of the Liberian judiciary and the justice system's role in contributing to the breakdown of the state. Among many other awards, Gongloe was honored as a 2003 Human Rights Watch Defender."