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Liberian President, Samuel Doe was the first world leader to be tortured on camera before being executed and his body desecrated, September 9, 1990.



In 1980, Samuel Kanyon Doe, a 28 year-old Master Sergeant, assumed power in Liberia in a blaze of glory. In a surprise night-time attack on the Executive Mansion overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Doe and his accomplices brutally murdered President William R. Tolbert Jr, ending 133 years of rule by
black American settlers and their descendants (known as Americo-Liberians).

Thirteen members of the Cabinet were publicly executed ten days later. Other public demonstrations were made to show his power and humiliate Tolbert's people before killing them. Shortly after the coup, government ministers were walked publicly around Monrovia in the nude and then summarily executed by a firing squad on the beach. Hundreds of government workers fled the country, while others were imprisoned.

Having discarded with Tolbert, Doe became Liberia’s first president of “exclusive indigenous heritage”.

In the subsequent decade, President Doe inflamed ethnic politics and eked out a suspiciously close victory in the 1985 elections, before he met an even less dignified end than his predecessor. At the end of the Cold War, his previously unwavering support from the US evaporated and, as Liberia erupted into civil war, Doe was left vulnerable. Nine months into the conflict on September, 9, 1990, Doe was captured on a visit to the recently deployed ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) in Monrovia by the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) led by Prince Johnson. They outmanouvered Doe’s security and the peacekeepers, and captured the President. The rebels brought Doe before Johnson. They stripped him naked except for his underpants. In the video, Doe is sitting on the floor and one of his tormentors holds a microphone to his face. He begs Johnson for his life: “Yomi, two people fight, one win. Spare me, please.” Johnson sternly tells Doe “Don’t fuck with me!”

Johnson lords over the gruesome scene of a room filled with rebels. He is calmly sitting on a swivel chair underneath a picture of Jesus. In one hand, he holds a walkie talkie and the other, a Budweiser. The room is overly hot, and for most of the video, one of the few female rebels fans him with a piece of cloth. She also gets him another beer, and then water. He is the picture of the ultimate maniac.

On the other side, Doe sits on the floor begging for his life. The camera oscillates between the two scenes. At some point, the rebels hold him back as one of them cuts off his ears. He does it almost casually, and when Doe is allowed to sit up again, he is earless and bleeding onto his naked body. They also cut off his fingers and toes.

Hours later, he was dead, though Liberia’s civil war would continue for another 13 long years. #HistoryVille