Leader of Liberian war faction removed from US

CAROLYN THOMPSON Associated Press Published:

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- A Liberian man accused of leading a faction responsible for human rights abuses during the West African country's civil war in the early 1990s was removed Friday from the United States, immigration officials said.

George Saigbe Boley, 62, had been living in upstate New York near Rochester until his arrest two years ago. He was flown to Monrovia, Liberia, after a U.S. immigration judge last month ordered him removed because of charges he recruited child soldiers and ordered or sanctioned extrajudicial killings in Liberia.

In July 2009, Liberia's truth and reconciliation commission recommended prosecuting Boley in that country for crimes against humanity. No charges have yet been filed.

"George Boley's removal is a major step in addressing the serious human rights abuses Mr. Boley perpetrated in Liberia in the 1990s," Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton said in a statement.

A State Department report on Human Rights Practices in Liberia documented reports that Boley, as former leader of the Liberian Peace Council, authorized the executions of seven of his soldiers in 1995, according to ICE. The agency said witnesses also testified before the Liberian commission investigating war crimes that the LPC burned alive dozens of captives in the northern part of the country in 1994.

Boley's wife and children, who still live in the United States, have denied the allegations and said none were corroborated by credible evidence.

Boley came to the United States nearly 40 years ago to attend college.

After earning his bachelor's and master's degrees at The College at Brockport, he received his doctorate at the University of Akron, the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester reported. He worked at various jobs, including as an administrator in the Rochester City School District.

ICE said Boley was the first person to be removed from the country under the Child Soldiers Accountability Act of 2008, which added the recruitment and use of child soldiers as grounds for deportation.

"The United States has always welcomed refugees and those fleeing oppression, but we will not be a safe haven for human rights violators and war criminals," Morton said.

Boley had been held at a federal detention facility outside Buffalo since 2010.