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28.01.2010 General News

Judge Detains Journalist

By Daily Guide
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EMMANUEL KUBI, a photo journalist with DAILY GUIDE, yesterday spent over five hellish hours in cells with several hardened criminals based on the orders of an Accra High Court judge, Justice James B. Benson.

The journalist was assaulted by about four wardens from the Ghana Prison Service before he was locked up. Inmates at the cell, after being told he is a journalist, further gave him the beating of his life.

They also robbed him of his money and inserted their fingers into his eyes.

Mr. Kubi said the cell inmates were angry at him and said since he was taking their photos to tell the whole world that they were criminals, they would prove to him the level of criminality in them.

The journalist was at the court to cover the case of the four armed robbers who killed a pastor of the Lighthouse Chapel in the presence of his six-month pregnant wife.

He was in the process of taking photos of the four criminals after they had been convicted when about four wardens from the Ghana Prison Service started to heckle him.

They reportedly seized his camera and gave him slaps when he protested.

Family members of the convicted persons, seeing the attitude of the wardens, joined in the free-for-all 'sanctioned' assault on the hapless journalist who was on an official assignment.

The said judge, on hearing the noise generated by the commotion, was reportedly told that Mr. Kubi was the cause of the disturbance, and without asking him any question, ordered that he be locked up immediately.

Desperate pleas from other journalists at the court did not get the prison wardens to release Mr. Kubi, as they claimed it was an order from a judge.

The judge permitted the release of the journalist about five hours later, and only after a niece of his, Ivy Benson, a journalist working with The Chronicle, pleaded for his release.

After his release, a frightened Emmanuel Kubi recounted his ordeal: “I was going for my camera from the officers when they told me that they have been ordered to put me in cells.

I did not see the judge myself, but after I came out, my other colleagues confirmed to me that the judge actually gave the order. I was very surprised because he did not give me any opportunity to give my side of the story”.

Mr. Kubi narrated further that after the convicts were sentenced, he came out of the courtroom to take some photos of them for a story. He said the convicts were by then being escorted by the prison officers, who rushed on him to prevent him from taking the photographs.

The warders, he recounted, forcibly snatched the camera from him for not seeking their permission first before taking the photographs. They then slapped him across the face when he resisted the seizure of his camera.

Mr. Kubi said he complained, asking why he had been physically assaulted in that manner without provocation, while on his official duty. He said this attracted a lot of people, creating noise at the courtyard.

Mr. Kubi said this was not the first time he had been assaulted while on duty as a journalist.

“My only disappointment is that prison officials would let this happen to me, and I was thrown in cells without trial or any explanation from me. It is wrong”, he added.

By Halifax Ansah-Addo and Mary Anane

Modern Ghana Links