Friday, December 24, 2010

As journalist charged to court, Police brutality on media again


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Sierra Leone Association of Journalists
1st Floor, 56 Campbell Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone P.M.B. 724,

President: +232 76/77/33 609285, Ag Secretary-General +232 76 460423/033 533547
_______________________________________________________________________                                 
Date: 24 December 2010

PRESS RELEASE

As journalist charged to court,
Police brutality on media again

FreetownPolice have confirmed that a reporter of Torchlight newspaper, Abdul Rahman Kamara who was among four journalists arrested on 13 December 2010 on the orders of Minister of Lands, Allieu Pat Sowe, is to be charged to court on allegations of larceny.

The journalists were investigating a case of an alleged fraud in the Ministry of Lands and were arrested when Mr Sowe saw them in his ministry with documents relating to the matter. Police seized the unclassified documents the journalists had on them and now say they were stolen and given to Abdul Rahman for which he will be charged on Tuesday. SLAJ is arranging for a legal team to represent the journalist.

“Charging the journalist is not just a ludicrous attempt bearing the hallmarks to cow journalists, but a clear attempt by the police, possibly acting on some orders, to deflect attention from the apparent fraud that happened in the lands ministry”, says SLAJ President Umaru Fofana. He assures that the association will resist this by standing by the journalist as well as calling for the apparent fraud to be investigated.

Meanwhile SLAJ is shocked to learn that police last night beat up a radio studio technician working for the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation in Freetown and broke his right knee. According to SLBC management, Femi Benedict was returning home from work when some policemen pounced on him. Eyewitnesses say Femi did not do anything to have warranted the police brutality. SLAJ condemns this despicable act of barbarity by men who should protect life and property and demands an immediate and speedy investigation.

“Coming after the Assistant Inspector General of Police David Sesay arrested and detained for a whole night 2 journalists in the south of the country, this is particularly worrisome and we no longer trust the current police leadership to deal with the matter,” SLAJ President Umaru Fofana says.


Signed:
Ismael Koroma
Ag National Secretary-General
+ 232 76 460 423

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