The Chief Executive Officer of Western Publications, publishers of Daily Guide, Mrs. Gina Blay, has revealed that Gifty Lawson, the photo-journalist attached to her media outfit who was arrested and beaten severely...
...by agents believed to be from the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) has finally been released.
She, however, says another member of staff of Daily Guide, who was also picked up at the court premises while performing their duties on Thursday morning, is still in the custody of the BNI.
Gifty Lawson and two other workers from the Daily Guide, Mary Annan and one Michael who attempted to shield her (Lawson) were also allegedly manhandled and physically assaulted, before the security operatives whisked Lawson and Michael away to an unknown location.
According to reports, agents of the BNI allegedly pounced on her by gripping her firmly at the waist and in the ensuing scuffle, torn off parts of her dress exposing her undies before finally whisking her away in a Toyota Corolla car with registration number GE 1584 W.
She had suffered a similar fate the previous day (Wednesday) and so had gone to the court with a security detail provided by the Daily Guide. Unfortunately, the security officials overpowered him and bundled into a Pick-Up with registration number GR 1109 -10.
Miss Lawson was said to have attempted taking pictures of the Head of the Commercial Crimes Unit of the Police CID, DSP Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda at the court premises, after an Accra Human Rights Court ordered her release from BNI cells in connection with the cocaine-turned-baking soda case.
An eyewitness to the incident, a legal practitioner who spoke in an interview with Kwami Sefa Kayi on Peacefm's "Kokrokoo" morning show, said the Daily Guide photographer was “badly manhandled” by the BNI officials. He also described the scene as nasty and harrowing as he claimed the BNI agents brandished their guns in a rather frightening manner at journalists present.
“In fact, she was badly manhandled…if I were her after this incident I will take legal action against the security officer [who assaulted her]. I don’t think it’s fair for a woman to be manhandled that way…" the lawyer said.
Speaking in an interview on Citi FM on Thursday evening, Gina Blay said the highly traumatized photo-journalist was released after being detained by the BNI for close to two hours who molested her and is currently seeking treatment at a hospital.
“…her dress was torn and she was in a mess…She said she was driven to the (BNI) National Headquarters and she was asked to write her address and give other details…” Madam Blay said.
According to the CEO of Western Publications, Miss Lawson’s mobile phone and camera were confiscated and some shots she taken were deleted from the camera.
“…they asked her to go without any charges (filed against her)… and complained bitterly about the way she was arrested like a common criminal.
Gina Blay revealed that due to the way Gifty was treated the previous day, management of Daily Guide decided she attend her assignment at the court house in the company of two other gentlemen. One of the two gentlemen, Michael, a security detail, is still in the custody of BNI.
“We called the BNI offices before Gifty was released however they (BNI) told them us they cannot release Michael because he assaulted one of their officers,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Journalists Association has issued a statement condemning the action by the BNI saying it is an affront to journalism.
The statement signed by the GJA Vice President Affail Monney said, “We consider the nature of the assault and detention of a journalist and other persons performing their lawful duties to be exceptionally violent and too difficult to comprehend. No assault on any media personnel can be justified. The assault at the court, regardless of its nature is an indication that there are still people and institutions that are not only highly intolerant of the media, but also ready to deal with them ruthlessly and with impunity. This does not augur well for our democracy. We condemn the attack and call for the immediate release of all those who were arrested at the court premises.”
The GJA subsequently petitioned the IGP to “order an immediate investigation into the matter.”
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|