The Commission on Human Right and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has called for the prosecution of police officers who allegedly assaulted journalists from state-owned Ghanaian Times Newspaper, last Thursday.
In a statement, CHRAJ Commissioner, Mr. Joseph Whittal, expressed disappointment over the actions of the police personnel describing it as a “heinous crime” and a complete violation of human rights.
According to the commission, though the Police Service has been cautioned time without number, to exercise restraint when handling members of the public, those warnings have completely been ignored.
The commission therefore called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) 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.
“The Commission recommends prosecution of these errant police officers in a court of competent jurisdiction and not to put them through administrative service disciplinary enquiry to serve as deterrent to others and to reassure Ghanaians that police officers are not above the law,” the statement said.
CHRAJ also called for compensation for vitus assaulted by the police.
It could be recalled that last Thursday, two journalists with the Ghanaian Times Newspaper ‘brutally’ were assaulted by about police officers when they decided to film an accident involving a police officer riding an unregistered motorcycle and who got involved in a traffic offence.
Some professional bodies including the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) have since condemned the actions of the police and calling for swift prosecution of the offenders.
The GJA particularly, finds the assault by the said police officers barbaric especially in an era of rule of law when the police are supposed to be law enforcers rather than law breakers.
“This incident must not be added to the list of unresolved cases of assault against journalists by police officers. This culture of impunity must end now,” the GJA said in a statement.
The association resolved to seek justice for all journalists who have been assaulted by police officers in the past and we called on all well-meaning Ghanaians to join in condemnation of such barbaric conduct by the police.
Human Rights Lawyer, Francis-Xavier Sosu adding a voice of reason to the unfortunate development said, prosecution must be done swiftly adding that Ghanaians must see that law is taking its full course.
He said, “It will be in the interest of the Ghana Police, the IGP not to shield the perpetrators of this crime but to make sure they face the full rigorous of the law. Shielding the police officers will cause Ghanaians to lose confidence in the police service.”
By Grace Ablewor Sogbey