A Liberian national was sentenced in federal court Thursday to 30 years in prison for immigration fraud and perjury. The prison term marks the longest sentence for a human-rights violator case in the history of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC), which supported the probe. The sentencing also caps an extensive investigation led by ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Philadelphia.
Mohammed Jabbateh, 51, a violent and ruthless Liberian warlord also known as “Jungle Jabbah,” had been living in East Lansdowne, Pa. Jabbateh, 51, was found guilty in October 2017 of two counts of fraud in immigration documents and two counts of perjury.
“Let today’s sentencing serve as an example of HSI’s commitment to bring to justice individuals such as Mr. Jabbateh,” said Marlon Miller, special agent in charge of HSI’s Philadelphia office. “Human rights violators will not evade justice and will be held accountable for their crimes committed abroad, nor will they find refuge here in the United States.”
During the height of Liberia’s first civil war from 1992 to 1995, Jabbateh, while serving as commander of a warring faction known as the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO), committed various acts of shocking brutality including rapes, sexual enslavement, slave labor, murder, mutilation and ritual cannibalism. He also used children as soldiers.
According to trial testimony, in one instance Jabbateh ordered the heart of a captive be cooked and fed to his fighters. In another, fighters under the defendant’s command murdered a villager, removed his heart and ordered the town chief’s wife to cook it. Jabbateh later had the town chief himself murdered and ordered his widow to cook her husband’s heart.
In December 1998, when making application for asylum, and later for permanent legal residency, the defendant was not truthful about his activities during Liberia’s first civil war while he was a member of the ULIMO and later ULIMO-K rebel groups that battled for control of Liberia.