Tortured Journalist Insists National Security Lied Over Incident

Emmanuel Ajafor Abugri, editor of ModernGhana news portal, has refuted suggestions that his Hollywood-style abduction, detention and torture by national security personnel led by one Eben, was over hacking suspicions.

There were some reports that, their arrest was connected to cybercrime being perpetrated by Mr Ajafor and one other ModernGhana reporter, against some other media organisations.

But on radio yesterday, the editor, who revealed his head and that of a colleague were hooded with black polythene bags, and were driven to an unknown location, said he had no ties to cybercrime, adding that at all time while in the custody of the National Security personnel, he was rather questioned and beaten on an article published on the National Security Minister, Albert Kan-Dapaah.

“I am not a hacker. I don’t have an IT background. I am a journalist doing my work professionally… It is not now that I started working in ModernGhana that I will start being a hacker and all that.”

He explained that his detention was tied to two posts on his website, published on June 12, that were critical of the National Security Minister, Kan-Dapaah.

He also revealed going to the Police Hospital for medical treatment after his was released by his National Security captors, refuting claims by the National Security Ministry that he was not tortured.

He denied being charge with any criminal offense, as he was not made to write any police statement as expected. Report that he was to appear in court yesterday, sounded news to him.

He revealed, he was rather warned on phone while on his way hope after the release on Saturday, by the said Eben, who led the abduction and torture not to disclose what had happened to him, while in the dungeon.

One of the posts was an article critical of the National Security Minister from a contributor, one Constance Kwabeng, and the other, a news story from a press release by the same person.

“We received a call from National Security saying we should pull those two publications down,” Mr. Ajafor recounted.

The publications were taken down after the initial call but that did not stop five security personnel; two police officers and three other men in plain clothes, from detaining him and his colleague, Emmanuel Yeboah Britwum.

It was during the detention and about an hour-long interrogation that the alleged torture occurred.

“Every question they ask follows with a slap. It is either [you are slapped] before you speak or after you have spoken, the slap follows.”

Mr Ajafor, said he was questioned on the whereabouts of one Constance Kwabeng.

“Since you cannot produce Constance Kwabeng, then it means you are the Constance Kwabeng, who has been paid to use that pseudonym to concoct those stories against the minister.”

After being “slapped not less than 20 times” he added that “they tortured me by hands to the extent that they used the taser… on my arm, even my ears.”

But Mr Ajorfor, served notice that he would be resolute, despite the scrutiny from state security.

“I will remain truthful and I will keep on being truthful. I will not lie. Whatever you do to me I will say it and keep in saying it. They did not question me in relation to any hacking thing. It was in relation to those publications.”

The National Security Council Secretariat earlier came out to rejected claims that National Security operatives tortured him

The secretariat in a statement said Mr Ajarfor, “was never manhandled, neither was he subjected to any form of forced physical contact.

The National Security Council Secretariat, had rejected claims that its operatives tortured the Modern Ghana journalists detained recently.

The secretariat in a statement insists that the suspect, Emmanuel Ajarfor, “was never manhandled, neither was he subjected to any form of forced physical contact.”

“We consider it to be a clear and deliberate attempt by the suspect to discredit the investigations and the case against him… Torture and manhandling of suspects are not part and parcel of the culture and architecture of the secretariat under the administration of President Akufo-Addo.”

In addition, the secretariat expects a medical examination to “present the truth in the matter.”

Mr Ajarfor, who was detained alongside a fellow journalist, Emmanuel Yeboah Britwum, was to arraigned later yesterday and charges against him made known.

Mr Ajarfor, had claimed that he was manhandled and tortured by National Security personnel during his interrogation.

Personnel who identified themselves as operatives from the National Security reportedly arrested two journalists of the online portal in their office in Accra on Thursday.

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 foundation called on the Minister of National Security and the National Security Co-ordinator to clarify the circumstances surrounding the raid, who the perpetrators are and whether they were officially mandated to carry out the operation.

According to MFWA, the editor of ModernGhana.com, William Nana Beeko, said the operatives did not present any warrant.

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has, however, called for the immediate suspension of the National Security Minister, by the President, following allegations of torture of the Journalist by National security operatives.

The NDC in a Press statement contended that President Akufo-Addo’s deafening silence on the matter and similar acts of repression does not do his reputation any good.

“These barbaric acts will forever remain a blot on his reputation if he fails to act. He must for once, live up to expectation by ensuring that justice is served in this matter. Any attempt to trivialize this issue as we have seen in times past will only encourage the impunity that is already on the prowl in our nation. The time to act to safeguard our democracy is now,” said Sammy Gyamfi, National Communication Officer, of the party.

According to Abugri, who was released on Saturday 29 June 2019 they were tortured and beaten by National Security operatives while in detention following a raid of their office and their subsequent arrest.

The National Security, however, said there was no physical abuse on Abugri and his colleagues.

“The Secretariat takes a very serious view of these claims and wishes to state, in no uncertain terms that these allegations are false. We consider it to be a clear and deliberate attempt by the suspect to discredit the investigations and the case against him.

“Torture and manhandling of suspects are not part and parcel of the culture and architecture of the secretariat under the administration of President Akufo-Addo,” a statement from National Security said.

But the NDC recounting on similar assaults on Journalists seen under the Akufo-Addo government said the one too many attacks on journalists which have gone unpunished in recent time must end now.

“To remain silent is to allow evil to triumph, to keep mute over these happenings is to encourage this sinister tide,” the statement by the party said.

Source: theheraldghana.com