GJA condemns ‘jungle’ police assault on 3 journalists

GJA condemns 'jungle' police assault on journalists
President of Ghana Journalists Association, Dr. Affail Monney

The Ghana Journalists Association has railed against the “barbaric” assault suffered by three journalists from The Ghanaian Times newspaper, at the hands of 10 police officers, Thursday.

The Association says it is shocking that police officers who committed the dastardly act, turned themselves into law breakers rather than the law enforcers.  

The affected journalists- Salifu Abdul Rahman and Raissa Sambou Ebu- were said to be traveling in their official vehicle to their various assigned venues when they decided to film an accident involving a police officer riding an unregistered motorcycle and the vehicle transporting the journalists at Kinbu in Accra central.

The about 10 police officers who were not happy that the journalists had tried to record the accident and the ensuing exchanges between their driver and the police motor rider, pounced on the journalists and physically assaulted them.

Mrs Sambou, a lactating mother was rushed to the emergency unit of the Ridge Hospital, while Sullemana, who received a chunk of the assault was locked up at the Ministries Police Station, but was later released.

The GJA has, therefore, demanded immediate investigation and sanctions against the police officers who took the law into their own hands and brutalised the journalists.

“We call on the Police Administration to undertake swift investigations into the incident and, for once, punish the perpetrators of such heinous crime,” the GJA said in a statement issued Thursday and signed by the President, Roland Affail Monney.

Read the full statement below:

PRESS RELEASE

March 14, 2019

Assault On Ghanaian Times Reporters By Police Is Barbaric

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) condemns in no uncertain terms an alleged assault of three reporters of Ghanaian Times by a police officer in Accra Thursday, March 14, 2019. The reporters are Sulemana Malik, Salifu Abdul Rahman and Raissa Sambou Ebu. We call on the Police Administration to undertake swift investigations into the incident and, for once, punish the perpetrators of such heinous crime.

Reports available to the GJA indicate that a police officer riding on an unregistered motorbike hit a vehicle belonging to the Ghanaian Times near the Kinbu Traffic Light in Accra around 8:45am today and sped off. The police officer had allegedly jumped traffic and while meandering his way out, his  motorbike hit the bumper of a Nissan saloon car belonging to the Ghanaian Times, breaking the mirror and windscreen of the car in the process. His pillion rider who saw what had happened beckoned him to stop, but the police officer rode on.
 
The driver of the  Ghanaian Times vehicle then chased and managed to block the motorbike of the police officer a few metres away from the accident scene, whereupon Malik got off the vehicle and started video-recording the incident with his mobile phone. Angered by that action, the police officer attempted to snatch the mobile phone from the reporter and when he did not succeed, he allegedly punched the face of the reporter, as blood gushed out from his nostril. Other police officers and a soldier in uniform allegedly joined in the beating of the reporter, pushing, kicking, slapping and punching him.

The two other reporters in the vehicle – Salifu Abdul Rahaman and Raissa Sambou Ebu – were also heckled, and in the process, Raissa, a nursing mother, collapsed and was rushed to the Greater Accra Regional Hospital for treatment.

According to the reports, the police officers demanded the mobile phone of Malik and subsequently handcuffed and bundled him into a police vehicle. They then sent him to the Ministries Police Station and detained him for about four hours. The police were said to have ignored several pleas from the reporter to send him to hospital for medical treatment.

The reporter was later brought out of the cell and allegedly dragged on the staircase to an office on the second floor where he was asked to write a statement. But he declined to do so, insisting on the presence of his lawyer before proceeding. He was then sent back into the cell, as an officer at the counter continued to hit him in the back.

It took the intervention of ACP David Eklu, the Director-General of Public Affairs Directorate of the Ghana Police Service, and ASP Efia Tenge, the Accra Region Police Public Relations Officer, to save the reporter from more torture.

The GJA finds the assault by the said police officers barbaric in an era of rule of law when the police are supposed to be law enforcers rather than law breakers. We call on the Police Administration to find and punish the perpetrators of this dastardly act to serve as deterrent to others and redeem the image of the Ghana Police Service from the shameful tag of a brutish institution. This incident must not be added to the list of unresolved cases of assault against journalists by police officers. This culture of impunity must end now!

The GJA will not relent in its efforts to seek justice for all journalists who have been assaulted by police officers in the past and we call on all well-meaning Ghanaians to join us in condemnation of such barbaric conduct by the police. Twenty-seven years into our democratic dispensation, it is important for the police to appreciate that we live under the rule of law and not the rule of the jungle.

Affail Monney
(President)

#Justice for Malik, Rahaman and Raissa

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