SDI condemns Police Brutality on Journalist
The Society for Democratic Initiative (SDI) wishes to unreservedly and unconditionally condemn the beating of Elkass Sannoh (a reporter working for the Africa Young Voices Group), by assistant superintendent of police Murana E. Kamara and his team, on Friday 5th February 2013, at 56 Upper Waterloo street in Freetown.
According to SDI investigation, the reporter went to cover a human interest story involving the forceful eviction of residents of 56 Upper Waterloo Street. The reporter identified himself to the police officer and questioned the act of police officers involved in throwing out the properties and at the same time beating the residents. It was discovered that ASP Kamara was very uncomfortable with the presence of the journalist and as a result, he instructed police officers at the scene to beat and seized the camera of the journalist. The journalist was rescued by other onlookers who intervened to get the journalist out of the hands of the police.
It should be however noted that the practice of police officers beating and manhandling journalists and claiming obstruction of police duty is becoming common place and is equivalent to unprofessionalism and gross violation of the rights of human rights defenders.
SDI as an institution strongly believes that the ugly trend in the show of police unprofessionalism if not completely halted will no doubt grossly undermine our hard won peace and democracy and as such, succeed in merely dividing us as a people and a nation.
In this vein therefore, the police personnel on official duties, are sternly warned to desist from this act of cruelty and save this nation from carnage and reversion.
Journalists are meant to serve as watch dogs of the people and the nation, but not to be given an inhuman treatment by state institutions, particularly the police force. Let all stakeholders make the best out of the sustained efforts to maintain national inclusion and respect for other profession and carve the way forward for our beloved country, Sierra Leone.
“Freedom of the media is crucial to democracy and is a cornerstone upon which the very existence of a democracy society rests and indispensable for the formation of public opinion. The importance of freedom of the media was particularly emphasized by the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone which is protected at section 25 (1)” said Emmanuel S. Abdulai, Executive Director, Society for Democratic Initiatives.
SDI is seriously concerned over the recent police brutality on journalists and is therefore calling on the police top management to immediately take all necessary actions against those police personnel who are responsible for this act so as to prevent future occurrence.
Long live Sierra Leone.Society for Democratic Initiatives 28 Charlotte Street Freetown Emmanuela@sfdi-sl.org
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