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GJA condemns allege assault on journalist; says 'Police Is Barbaric'

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The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has condemned 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 Malik Sulemana, Salifu Abdul Rahman and Raissa Sambou Ebu.

The GJA therefore called on the Police Administration to undertake swift investigations into the incident and, for once, punish the perpetrators of such heinous crime.

These were in a statement issued by the Association and copied to gbcghanaonline.com in Accra, March 15, 2019.

The statement which was signed by the President of GJA, Roland Affail Monney said reports available to the Association, 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 on Thursday, March 14, 2019, and sped off.

Graphiconline/Photo: The Ghanaian Times vehicle which the policeman hit with the unregistered motorbike.

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.

It further said 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.

Graphiconline/Photo: Sullemana with his wounds

Other police officers and a soldier in uniform allegedly joined in the beating of the reporter, pushing, kicking, slapping and punching him.
Graphiconline/Photo: Malik Sulemana allegedly brutalised by the police

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. The statement said.

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

The GJA said it 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 said it 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.” The statement concluded.

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