Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has called on the Inspector General Police (IGP) to investigate and deal with the group of officers who assaulted three journalists from the Ghanaian Times newspaper, Thursday.
A statement issued Saturday by the CHRAJ Boss, Joseph Whittal, also recommended prosecution of these errant police officers in a court of competent jurisdiction and not to put them through administrative Service disciplinary enquiry.
This the statement added, will serve as a deterrent to others and reassure Ghanaians that police officers are not above the law.
The Journalists were reported to have been travelling in their official vehicle to their various assigned venues when they decided to film an accident involving a police officer riding an unregistered motorcycle and the vehicle in which they were travelling at Kinbu in Accra Central.
Ten police officers, who were unhappy about the filming and ensuing exchanges between the journalists’ driver and the police motor rider, and in attempt to cease the recording device, pounced on the journalists and assaulted them.
One of the Journalists, a lactating mother who had her baby through a caesarean section, was hit in the lower abdomen, collapsed, and was rushed to the emergency Unit of the Ridge Hospital while the others were again manhandled by the police.
CHRAJ observed these actions involving the use of excessive and unreasonable force by the police is clear evidence of human rights violation which Article 15 (1) and (2) of the 1992 Constitution abhors.
“Ghana’s human Rights Commission, CHRAJ, has had occasion to caution the Ghana Police Service over and over again to exercise restraint or to be judicious when handling human beings but to no avail.
“In this regard, the Commission calls on the Inspector General of Police to conduct thorough investigations into this matter, and on the basis of the findings, crack the whip and deal with the perpetrators of this heinous crime in accordance with the law, CHRAJ demanded.
The Commission reminded the IGP, David Asante Apeatu and the Police Service over which he superintends that, the timing of this assault by his men on innocent citizens -coming on the heels of the clear unprofessional conduct exhibited by police officers in their testimonies before the Emile Short Commission Hearings into the Ayawaso West Wougon shooting- “is most disappointing and not reassuring of the professionalism of the Service and any lessons learnt.”
The Commission further recommended that the victims should also be compensated for the injuries, trauma and losses suffered.
The statement further urged the general public to report incidences of police brutality whenever they occur, and also called on Civil Society Organisations, religious bodies, and other relevant institutions to come out and condemn this barbaric act in no uncertain terms.
The Commission, however, encouraged and appealed to the citizenry to be law-abiding as they enjoy their rights and freedoms with caution, ensuring that they operate within the structures of the law.