Incarcerated Managing Editor of the Daily Searchlight newspaper, Mr. Kenneth Kuranchie has regained his freedom after his release from jail Thursday morning.
He served his 10 days’ prison sentence imposed on him by Ghana’s Supreme Court which found him guilty of criminal contempt.
After walking out of what some have described as a jail-tour because of his frequent transfer from one jail to another, Mr. Kuranchie told journalists he believes his sentence was unjust.
He told Accra-based Oman FM that the sentence will not cower and restrain him from asking critical questions of even the Supreme Court.
“I won’t live in a country where my child cannot speak his mind,” he stated.
Mr. Kuranchie fell foul of the law when he critiqued the Supreme Court’s reprimand of Deputy Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party, Sammy Awuku, in a front-page comment in his newspaper.
He wondered why the court hearing the Presidential Election Petition heard Sammy Awuku’s comments but didn’t hear worse comments made by others.
Mr. Awuku had suggested that the court was being selective and hypocritical in citing a Daily Guide newspaper publication for bad reportage. He subsequently apologised to the court and was banned from attending the proceedings which enter day-43 today, Thursday, July 11, 2013.
Writing after the court’s action, Mr. Kuranchie said he agreed with Sammy Awuku’s views that the court was being selective and hypocritical.
He asked the court to provide guidelines on what constituted contemptuous comments, insisting that if the court gave a ruling, the public was entitled to comment on it and to use strong language in doing so.
The Supreme Court, feeling offended by the comments, invited the outspoken editor who sought to explain the comments.
The court sentenced him to 10 days’ imprisonment
on Tuesday July 2, 2013, for failing to show remorse.
Following his release, he maintained that the questions he raised in the comments that earned him the prison sentence had not been answered by the court. They ought to be answered by the justices of the Supreme Court, he said.
“They must clarify for the people of this country [what constitutes contempt]. If necessary they can issue a gagging order…then everybody will obey the Supreme Court; but as I speak…that gagging order has not been issued; as I talk to you they have not defined for the people of this country [that which is] unlawful.
There is something that is unlawful out there; the exact nature of that unlawfulness nobody knows; it is in the minds bosoms of their lordships and I think it is unfair,” he said.According to him, “what they think should be lawful and what should not be lawful [comments], they should define for the people of this country so that we will obey it for the duration of this trial.”