State clutching at straws - Lawyer for ModernGhana journalists
Lawyer for two journalists allegedly tortured by national security operatives has predicted the state will struggle to justify its barbaric act in court.
Samson Lardy Anyenini said despite National Security’s claims it arrested the two ModernGhana journalists for cybercrimes, it has been unable to file the charges after almost three working days.
Editor of online news portal, Modernghana.com, Emmanuel Ajafor Abugri, and a colleague were picked up by gun-wielding operatives last Thursday to an undisclosed location.
They claimed they were blindfolded and driven to an unknown location where they were detained, slapped, beaten, and elbowed.
”I cried like a baby,” Abugri told Joy FM’s Midday News Monday after his release.
He has said despite the claims of cybercrimes being the reason for his arrest, his interrogation was exclusively on the publication of articles that linked the National Security minister Albert Kan-Daapah and an MP to a protracted conflict at the University of Education Winneba.
National Security has denied the accusations of torture and wanted the journalists medically examined. It has also promised to prosecute the journalists in court.
But condemnations have been flowing in from rights campaigners including media watchdog Media Foundation for West Africa and One Ghana Movement.
The umbrella body for journalists, the Ghana Journalist Association called a press conference condemning the alleged assault as backward and barbaric.
Addressing the packed conference, Samson Lardy Anyenini who is part of a team of lawyers expected to challenge the state, also lampooned National Security for the “unlawful, criminal and unconstitutional” detention of the online journalists.
He suggested the state is not serious about the charges and wondered how the suspects could be released without the police taking a statement.
“Judge for yourselves if this is if this how cybercrimes [investigation] is conducted,” he said. Samson said National Security is “clutching at straws” to defend an operation that “appears to have backfired.”
The lawyer with a history of defending journalists in court said he expects the state to file ‘tramped up’ charges against the journalists.
“But it will be decimated in court….the court will not entertain the prostitution of its services.”