MP condemns “inhumane”, “Rambo-styled” arrest of Whatsup News Editor

The MP for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, has implored the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to release the Editor of Whatsup News, David Tamakloe from custody, to enable him celebrate Easter.

While condemning the “Rambo-styled” arrest of the news editor of the virtual newspaper, the lawmaker said the deliberate arrest of Mr Tamakloe a day before Good Friday makes it difficult for him to be bailed until the holidays were over.

“This is Inhumane, unacceptable, backward and smacks of abuse of police powers,” he said.

According to the MP, the journalist was arrested at gunpoint and a lawyer who followed up on the case, was not provided reasons for the arrest.

“It is important that our security operatives operate on the basis of transparency and with a certain sense of integrity. The image of the security agencies continue to decline over the years following the arbitrary and unexplained arrests of innocent citizens,” he noted in a statement.

The MP wants the journalist to be allowed his freedom until after Easter and if “any prima facie determination is made” he can be properly arraigned in court so he would take steps to defend himself in the matter.

Previous arrest

It is not the first time Mr Tamakloe had been arrested.

On Wednesday, October 7, 2020, he was arrested in Accra in relation to a news item capturing the concerns raised by some Ewes and Northerners resident in the New Edubiase Constituency in the Ashanti Region.

According to the police, Mr Tamakloe was arrested based on a bench warrant issued by the New Edubiase District Court, because he had failed to honour an invitation extended to him to assist the police in their investigations into the complaint.

This drew condemnation from the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the Private Newspaper and Online Publishers Association (PRINPAG), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and other institutions.

Arrest of other journalists

Several other journalists have been arrested for alleged offences in the past.

The most recent was in December ahead of the 2020 elections.

A journalist with Accra-based Power FM, Oheneba Boamah Bennie, was picked up for allegedly insulting and threatening President Akufo-Addo.

The radio presenter is said to have recorded a live video on his Facebook page in which he was allegedly heard insulting and issuing a series of threats to the President.

Below is the statement from the MP:

FREE DAVID TAMAKLOE TO CELEBRATE EASTER WITH HIS FAMILY

News broke yesterday that Mr. David Tamakloe was arrested by some unidentified security officials allegedly from the National Security.

The Rambo-styled approach of effecting arrest of citizens has been a subject for concern to many.

It comes as a surprise that nothing seems to be changing in this regard. Mr. Tamakloe was reported to have been picked up at gun point sometime yesterday. And particularly, on the eve of Good Friday knowing very well that he would be kept in police custody until after Monday, is most inhumane, unacceptable, backward and smacks of abuse of police powers.

A colleague lawyer, who followed up on the matter at the Police station has recounted how the officers were unable to provide any reasons for his arrest. Just none and yet he has been denied police inquiry deliberately.

It is important that our security operate on the basis of transparency and with a certain sense of integrity. The image of the security agencies continue to decline over the years following the arbitrary and unexplained arrests of innocent citizens.

The sacrifice of professionalism on the altar of political expediency and making the security a tool for political manipulations would go a long way to hurt us all.

Mr. David Tamakloe, the publisher of Whatsapp News was arrested in a similar fashion a couple of months ago without justification.

The state must not be seen to be expending its powers in an arbitrary manner. The state, rather than abusing its powers, is expected to protect the rights and liberties of its citizens. The consistent acts of picking up individuals without cause, must cease now. Rule of law doesn’t mean rule of a few. It means acting in accordance with our laws and not in accordance with our whims and caprices.

I am by this release urging the IGP to direct that Mr. Tamakloe is admitted to police inquiry bail so he can join his family at Easter and that if any prima facie determination is made after the Easter festivities, he can be properly arraigned in court so he would take steps to defend himself in the matter.

Martin Luther King cautioned that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Let us be guided.

Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, Esq
MP, South Dayi
Member: Const., Legal & Parliamentary Affairs Committee

 

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