The OneGhana Movement, is demanding the release of unedited video footage of the interrogation of the ModernGhana journalists by National Security operatives.
GJA President, Roland Affail Monney
This according to OneGhana Movement, will help bring finality on the matter, following counterclaims by the journalists and the National Security.
The demand comes as the Senegal-based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has backed its affiliate, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), in calling for an independent investigation into the arrest, detention, and alleged torture of journalists Emmanuel Ajafor Abugri and Emmanuel Yeboah Britwum.
IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The arbitrary arrest and torture of journalists for doing their job are very serious allegations. We urge the authorities to immediately conduct a thorough investigation. We stand in solidarity with our two colleagues”.
The OneGhanaMovement, had in statement charged “we therefore request the urgent release of the unedited video of Emmanuel Ajarfor’s interrogation as we are reliably informed by past and present operatives of the National Security that the facility has covert and overt cameras, in tandem with international practices.”
The group’s statement said “this we believe will enable us ‘The People’ to make our own judgment and reaffirm our confidence in the National Security and its ethics. The failure to do so will affirm the allegations and explain the reasons for their failure to allow Mr Ajarfor to have access to counsel or even make a phone call for family to be present.”
The operatives reportedly arrested two journalists of the online news website, modernghana.com in their office in Accra, two Thursdays, ago.
One of the reporters, Emmanuel Ajarfor, claims that he was manhandled and tortured by National Security personnel during his interrogation; an allegation the National Security Council debunked.
The other journalist, Emmanuel Biritwum, claimed he was never assaulted, but over the weekend, an audio emerged of him telling a radio station in an interview that he was tortured.
The One Ghana Movement in a statement condemned the arrest and detention of the journalists and called on the President to initiate “radical reforms in the protocols and terms of engagement in all security services to respect and uphold the human rights of all citizens.”
The group also demanded “the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Ajarfor’s electronic gadgets. We re-emphasize the demand for an Independent investigation into the allegations of torture and urge the Ghana Journalists Association and its members not to relent until justice is served.”
It remains unclear why the two were picked up but it is believed to be linked to an article published by the website which was critical of the National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah and Member of Parliament (MP) for the Effutu Constituency, Alexander Afenyo-Markin.
The arrests were criticised by groups like the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and the OneGhana Movement.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) and other civil society organisations called for the resignation of the National Security Minister over the issue.
Both journalists, who work for Ghanaian digital media ModernGhana, were arrested and charged with cybercrime on June 27, following the site’s publication of a story criticizing the national security minister.
During the raid, laptops were seized from ModernGhana’s office by national security agents. National civil society organizations, denounced the “Rambo style” of the raid.
The journalists remained in custody for four days. After their release, they denounced alleged torture and mistreatment by the authorities, who “slapped” them several times and checked all their phones and social media accounts without a warrant. They were also forced to remove the posts that were critical of the minister.
“The National Security officials were convinced that I was Constance Kwabeng, the author of the article, and wanted me to confess. Any question officers asked me was either followed with or preceded by a slap”, Emmanuel AjaforAbugri said in a local radio interview, adding that officials used an electric taser on his arms and ears.
Ghanaian authorities denied all allegations of torture.
The GJA President, Roland Affail Monney, said: “on the grounds of democratic principles, freedom and independence of the media and the tradition of defending the rights of journalists, we unequivocally condemned the process and procedure adopted to seek justice over the cybercrime allegedly committed by the journalists. We call for an independent investigation to ascertain the truth in this case”.
Meanwhile, an audio available to The Herald reveals how ModernGhana journalist, Emmanuel Britwum who denied ever suffering any form of torture or seeing his editor Emmanuel Ajafor Abugri tortured, admitting to being tortured by National Security operatives during his brief incarceration in custody.
Emmanuel Britwum in a statement issued through his lawyer Debora Asabere-Ameyaw on Wednesday, July 3, said he was “neither tortured nor brutalised” in any way as alleged.
Emmanuel Britwum’s torture denial story is in sharp contrast to that of his colleague, Emmanuel Ajarfor Abugri, putting the credibility of the torture story on the line after Ajafor claimed he was turned upside down and subjected to a terrible physical ordeal, including electrical shocks by state security operatives during his one-hour interrogation.
In view of that, legal practitioner Samson Lardy Anyenini, who was counsel for the two expressed surprise at Britwum’s latest position stating how the journalist until six hours ago, maintained he was assaulted and tortured.
But Emmanuel Britwum in an interview on Monday, July 1 on Accra based radio station Kingdom FM after his release from BNI confessed being tortured by the officials.The journalist admitted that after the interviewer asked the question of him being tortured during his arrest, of which he affirmed.
However, the Accra High Court has dismissed the case against the two Modern Ghana journalists, Emmanuel Ajarfor and Emmanuel Britwum who had been slapped with three charges of conspiracy to steal, stealing and unauthorized access to electronic information.
This was after the prosecutor, Stella Ohene Appiah, indicated to the court that she wanted to withdraw the case to conduct further investigations based on some new information received.The case, which was called on Friday, was presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe.
Editor for Peace FM, Yaw Obeng-Manu, who was also put before the court and charged with unauthorized access to a password, was also discharged.Meanwhile, one of the lawyers for Emmanuel Ajarfor, Sampson Lardi Ayenini, described the proceedings in court as the first embarrassment for the prosecution, saying that the prosecution was trying to force non-existent charges on his client.
MordernGhana online, Samuel with his legal team