OccupyGhana Urges Govt To Set Up Independent Body To Investigative National Security Assault On Journalist

Pressure group, OccupyGhana has casted doubts about the National Security Ministry to provide a satisfactory investigation into the damning allegations in connection of the brutalities meted out to Citi FM Journalist, Mr Caleb Kudah by National Security operatives.

Mr Kudah was picked up by Security officers on Tuesday claiming he broke the “No photography” rule by filming the premises of the Ministry which is a restricted security zone.

Seven heavily built armed officers later stormed the Citi FM station and also arrested another Broadcast Journalist Zoe Abu-Baidoo, who had reportedly received files from Mr Kudah.

Both were subsequently released after the videos were deleted by the security operatives.

Mr Kudah after his release in an interview said though he was in handcuff, the security operatives kept assaulting him for which reason he felt dizzy at a point in time.

“They were still beating me slapping me from the back, I will be talking to another one and someone will come and slap me from the back and you feel dizzy at once. At this point, they had handcuffed me and every now and again one will come and press it harder so that I feel the pain.

“Along the line, a man identified as Agyeman came in and I tried to talk to him, and immediately, he asked me to kneel down and he kicked me in the groin. I tried to plead with him that Sir they have beaten me enough. I beg you please let me go because he told me to kneel down, he kicked me in the groin,” Caleb Kudah added.

Condemning the assault on the journalist, OccupyGhana in a statement copied to DAILY Analyst on Sunday May 16, 2021, the group noted that it have no faith that the National Security Ministry can provide a satisfactory investigation into the damning allegations.

In this regard, the OccupyGhana in the statement advised the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to set up an independent body of inquiry to commission a full scale of investigations into the matter.

The statement asserted that theallegations of brutalities against journalists are not new, but “we are disturbed that the assaults on members of the media keep getting bolder and bolder, and the impunity is assuming hellish proportions.”

Below is full statement

OCCUPYGHANA®️ PRESS STATEMENT 14th May 2021

OCCUPYGHANA®️ DISTURBED BY ALLEGATIONS OF THE BRUTALISATION OF A JOURNALIST BY NATIONAL SECURITY

OccupyGhana®️ has taken notice of the allegations of assault by National Security operatives on a journalist of Citi FM and Citi TV, Mr Caleb Kudah.

News reports and the victim’s testimony allege extra-judicial punishment from National Security operatives including slaps from behind, kicks from booted feet to his groin, molestation and brutalisation of his person while he was handcuffed and could not defend himself.

We have also seen footage alleging a raid of Citi FM’s and Citi TV’s premises by operatives purported to be from the National Security Ministry, to pick up another journalist, Zoe Abu-Baidoo who details how she was ordered to delete photos and videos on her own phone under intimidation by a person identified by both journalists as a Lt-Col Agyeman and accomplices such as one Chief Inspector Ampadu.

We also take notice that the female journalist was not harmed physically, but the gentleman was “worked over” by the operatives for more than five hours. In no case, we further notice, was any lawyer present for either journalist.

We have also seen a letter purported to originate from the National Security Ministry and signed by its Chief Director Lt-Col Ababio Serebour (Rtd) indicating the Ministry’s awareness of the allegations and rather unhelpfully claiming without any timelines that disrespects the intelligence of Ghanaians, the Ministry’s willingness to investigate the allegations and revert.

We also notice the nonchalance in verbiage and the non-subtle attempt of the Chief Director of the Ministry to brand the serious allegations and the Guantanamo Bay-styled assaults as “interrogation” that clearly did not respect the right of the person to a lawyer.

It goes without saying that we in OccupyGhana©️ are troubled by these developments, and it is with an iron will that we maintain civil language towards the National Security Ministry in issuing this press release.

These allegations, in their very nature, have no place in a civilised democracy, a 29-year-old democratic experiment, and under a republican constitution that touts the rule of law.

The allegations outline a bestial culture of impunity, an animalistic disregard for basic human rights and a demonic manifestation of tendencies that have no place even in a holocaust camp.

We are appalled and disgusted, and when proven true by an independent body, we demand that the perpetrators so named be charged with nothing less than the crime of attempted murder, tried, convicted, jailed and dismissed from the employment of the government without any benefits.

Consequently, we ask the following questions:

Was Mr. Caleb Kudah, at any point during his accosting by the National Security operatives, informed of what specific Ghanaian law he had breached by his mobile phone documentation of the issue or object that had piqued his journalistic interest?

Was the journalist read his rights at any point during Lt-Col Serebour’s (Rtd) description of an interrogation?
Under what law did National Security operatives coerce both journalists into deleting materials on their personal mobile telephony devices?

The Chief Director of the Ministry of National Security alluded to some “No Photography” rules at restricted security zones.

Can he be kind enough to refer us to what law his description of such rules is grounded in?

We have no faith that the National Security Ministry can provide a satisfactory investigation into the damning allegations and therefore would like to advise government to set up an independent body of inquiry into the matter.

The allegations of brutalities against journalists are not new, but we are disturbed that the assaults on members of the media keep getting bolder and bolder, and the impunity is assuming hellish proportions.

This must stop immediately. If this is what happens to journalists, then we shudder to think of what is happening to other voiceless Ghanaians in the quiet at the hands of security operatives.

Even more concerning for us is the knowledge that Mr Kudah was documenting vehicles acquired by Government and for which it had been claimed, had been disposed of and not left to rot as at least two investigative journalists had uncovered over the past two or so years.

If that was the case, then his cause was just. That his quest to hold government accountable for tax-payer expenses resulted in his alleged brutalisation sickens us immeasurably. Once independent investigations confirm this terrible maltreatment of Mr Kudah, government must understand the depths of our disgust with its press freedom credentials if any of the perpetrators of these heinous allegations are not made to face the full rigours of the law.

We reiterate that we fully support members of the media in the discharge of their lawful duties.

We remind government that it is unpardonable treachery to the citizens when people who are hired with citizens’ monies, trained with citizens’ monies, paid with citizens’ monies, clothed with citizens’ monies, fed with citizens’ monies, and (painfully) equipped and armed with citizens’ monies, would turn round and use those arms to oppress the citizens.

And the worst insult to the citizens would be if the perpetrators are successfully sued in court; then citizens’ monies would be used to pay the damages awarded. We clearly have learned nothing from the Ayawaso West Woguon incidents and we strongly demand that government takes immediate and firm steps to end this despicable anti-democratic backslide.

Yours, for God and Country

OccupyGhana®️

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