Liberian Lawyer Seeks Repatriation for Consul General and Diplomat Dr. Malachi Z. York from US Prison

The director for litigation (court matters) at Garlawulo and Associates Law Firm, Cllr. Wellington G. Bedell said Dr. Malachi Z. York should be released and repatriated based on the fact of his status as a Naturalized citizen, Consul General and Diplomatic Agent for the Republic of Liberia, and the fact that his health is swiftly fading away while he is still serving his prison sentence.

“With his health fading away while having served almost sixteen years of the 135 years as ordered by the court in the U.S. for a crime, that we believe he is innocent of, that could warrant just for five years of imprisonment in Liberia is a serious matter to look into,” he said, noting that international laws supersede the domestic laws of the U.S. in Dr. York’s case because he was arrested and jailed while serving a diplomatic post for Liberia in Georgia, USA.

According to him the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and the Vienna Convention on Consular relations forbids any nation the right to arrest and penalize a foreign diplomat unless sanctioned by the country from which he or she comes from.

He said ever since a judgment came from the civil law court of Liberia ordering government to engage the U.S. in order to free Dr. York and repatriate him to Liberia, hence there are available pieces of evidence depicting his innocence and diplomatic status.  Including an Amicus Brief filed on behalf of Dr. Malachi York by the Republic of Liberia in 2004 expressing his innocence of all charges due to witness tampering by the United States prosecutors.

Dr. York

“Dr. York’s family has long since engaged our boss, Cllr. Francis Garlawulo who is the executive director of this law firm to represent his (York) legal interest and that has begun even as far back as in 2004. What has caused the delay in going forward with the case has been a communication gap and the approval of the Liberian government to get a legal representation from here that will work with another legal team in the U.S. to fast track Dr. York being released and repatriated,” Bedell noted.

About what his law firm is doing now to fast track the case, particularly so to avoid the wrongful death of Dr. York in prison due to lack of healthcare for his hereditiary angiodema disease, he said consultations are ongoing at the level of the Foreign Ministry of Liberia and is confident those consultations will yield good results.

“Dr. Malachi Z. York personally knows Cllr. Francis Garlawulo and as such we have gotten the chance to review all claims made by him that he is a Liberian citizen by naturalization and that he held the post of Consul General. It was confirmed true that he was indeed appointed by former President Charles Taylor and was serving the post when he was arrested. This act is a violation of international laws protecting all persons serving on mandates from their governments in foreign countries,” he said, adding that York has denounced the American citizenship as shown in documentation before taking on the Liberian citizenship and as such Liberia has jurisdiction over him than any other country.

“Our records gathered show that Dr. York came to Liberia and naturalized far back in 1999 and upon his gain of Liberian citizenship, and his influence in Atlanta, Georgia, former President Taylor saw the need to appoint him to the Consul General post,” he said.

Bedell said the filing of a petition before the civil law court headed by then judge YusuffKaba clearly paved the way for Liberia to uncover the facts surrounding Dr. York’s arrest and imprisonment and provides an opportunity to for the Republic of Liberia to engage  the U.S. diplomatically that York deserves freedom from jail and granted the right to return to Liberia.

He pointed out that Cllrs. Garlawulo, Jenkins Scott (deceased and former Minister of Justice in Liberia) as well as Atty. Morris Kaba were appointed by the Liberian government in 2004 to assist in bringing York back to the Republic of Liberia.

“As a start, the three legal minds engaged the Liberian Foreign Ministry to write a diplomatic note to the Liberian Embassy, ordering the then Ambassador, Charles Minor to go on a fact finding mission to the State Department. He went and submitted a report requesting the presence of Liberia’s legal team to the U.S. but things did not go as should have been,” he recounted, noting further that time is still in Liberia’s favor to help save the life of Dr. York.

He admonished that there is a need for a cohesive team work. “We are hopeful that after our meetings with the government here a communication will be sent to the Liberian Ambassador to the U.S. now to start working with the family of Dr. York getting things in place for the team that will leave from here, based on government’s mandate to reengage the U.S. on the need to release of their client.

Bedell said the reason the process is a little bit slow now is because, almost all of Weah’s led government’s ministers are new with no understanding of what is required of them now, unless instructed. “We have to be patient because our current Foreign Minister is a new guy to the job who needs a little bit of time to understand some things,” he said.

The Daily Observer recently received and published the Liberia’s Sixth Circuit Judicial Court judgment declaring Dr. York innocent of the crimes levied against him and gave confirmation on his diplomatic status.


  1. Nelly on July 5, 2019 at 1:28 am

    If you want the real facts and realize the real lies

  2. Kendrick Lawson on June 10, 2020 at 10:56 am

    The Liberian government may now have all it needs to reengage its American counterpart on the need to allow the repatriation of Dr. Malachi Z. York, as the Criminal Court “B” recently retrieved and reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), through the Garlawolu and Associates Law Offices, all naturalization records on Dr. York.

    Contrary to what the Court has found and reported to the MoFA, a diplomatic note said to have come from the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia in 2007, rejected the Liberian government’s request to free and repatriate Dr. York. He was incarcerated on grounds that he is an American citizen, under the name Dwight York at the Bureau of Prisons with Register No. 17911-054, and must serve his astronomical solitary confinement at ADMAX Prison center in the United States.

    The diplomatic note, written on the letterhead of the United States Embassy in Monrovia, but which was not signed, said: “York is currently housed at the U.S. Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. His sentence is expected to be completed in 2119. Mr. York is a citizen of the United States, and his sentence must be served in the United States.” It further said: “As a U.S. citizen, he cannot be deported to Liberia.”

    With determined minds, however, a team of lawyers, comprising Wellington Bedell and Joseph Cornormia of the Garlawolu and Associates Law Offices and, lately, Attorney Morris Kaba, have been engaging the Government of Liberia since May 1, 2018, to find a solution to their client’s plight, which they think is inhumane and unjustifiable from all indications.

    Their persistence in dialoguing led them to the MoFA from where a request to Criminal Court “B” was made in order to check out records and find, if possible, documents confirming Dr. Malachi York’s Liberian citizenship.

    MoFA on June 19, 2018, wrote Cllr. Elizabeth J. Nelson, the Court administrator at the Temple of Justice, requesting her office to find Dr. York’s Liberian citizenship record and submit same to the MoFA for other arrangements and determination on whether the government can act on Dr. York’s case or not.

    The letter, signed by Cllr. Dewey Gray, Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs at the MoFA, copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, reads: “I present my compliments and have the honor to forward copies of a certificate of citizenship and an Oath of Allegiance submitted to the MoFA by lawyers representing Dr. Malachi Z. York, who is claiming Liberian citizenship for authentication.”

    It further states that, “The authenticity of these documents allegedly issued in 1999 by Criminal Court ‘B’ has become an issue in determining the citizenship of Dr. York, who wants the Government of Liberia to intervene on his behalf with regards to a judgment rendered against him in the United States of America.”

    Responding to the MoFA’s request, Judge Korboi K. Nuta of Criminal Court ‘B’ said in a letter signed by him that, “With copies of their (Dr. York’s lawyers in Liberia) files presented us, our staff was asked to search each file to find whether there is a trace of any records presented by us. Our staff reported that with the help of some records provided by the Garlawolu and Associates Law Offices, they were able to locate copies of records in other files which were inadvertently placed there.”

    Judge Nuta’s letter, dated August 1, 2018, also confirmed the presence of the Declaration of Intention to naturalize as a Liberian citizen, signed by Dr. York on July 12, 1997. The Declaration of Intention reads: ‘I, DR. MALACHI Z. YORK, ON OATH OR AFFIRMATION DECLARE THAT IT IS MY INTENTION TO SETTLE PERMANENTLY IN THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA AND TO BECOME A CITIZEN THEREOF, AND I DO HEREBY DECLARE BY ALLEGIANCE AND FIDELITY TO THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA AND RENOUNCE SAME TO ALL FOREIGN OR POWER AND PARTICULARLY TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, BEING THE FOREIGN POWER OF WHICH I AM NOW A CITIZEN OR SUBJECT.’ It was then signed by the then CLERK of CRIMINAL COURT ‘B’, Samuel Passawe, as it is stated herein:

    This was to successfully fulfill the requirements of the Liberian Law on Naturalization. It also falls under Title 8 of the United States Codes & 1481, Voluntary Loss of Citizenship, which states: “whereas upon an American Citizen pledging allegiance and taking an OATH to a foreign nation is cause for loss of United States citizenship.”

  3. Kendrick Lawson on June 10, 2020 at 11:03 am

    2018 Certified Copy of Judgement Confirming Dr. York’s Diplomatic Status 01/19/2018 Certified Copy of Judge Yussif Kaba’s ruling in Dr. York’s favor ordering the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Protect their National and that Dr. York was squarely appointed as Diplomatic Personal protected by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations


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