A journalist, Mr Emmanuel Ajarfor Abugri, has sued the National Security Coordinator and two others for suffering torture allegedly in the hands of national security operatives.
Mr Abugri is praying the Human Rights Division of the High Court to direct the Attorney-General to find, name and subject the National Security Coordinator and the officials, who were directly or indirectly involved in human rights violations against him, to criminal prosecution or punishment.
He is also praying the court to order the immediate and unconditional release and surrender of all seized items to him.
Mr Abugri further wants the court to award him fair, adequate and prompt compensation for the violations of his right to personal liberty and any other remedies the court deems fit.
The National Security Coordinator and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) are the first and second respondents, respectively.
The application for the enforcement of Mr Ajarfor’s fundamental human rights was filed on his behalf by his lawyer, Mr Samson Lardy Anyenini.
Mr Abugri is asking the court to hold that by arresting him without a court warrant and without first informing him of the reasons for his arrest, the National Security Coordinator, the IGP and or their officials have violated his right to personal liberty.
He is also praying the court to hold that by forcibly seizing his electronic gadgets and going ahead to access their content without his consent or a court warrant, the National Security Coordinator or officials from the National Security Secretariat have violated his right to privacy.
Mr Abugri wants the court to hold that by subjecting him to interrogation or questioning without informing him of his right to counsel or without giving him an opportunity to have a lawyer of his choice present, the agents of the National Security Coordinator and the IGP have violated, were violating or were likely to violate his right to fair trial.
He said the court should hold that “by questioning me, a journalist, in respect of a media publication they attributed to me or the media organisation I work for and going ahead to, under the pain of harm or the threat of it, warn me, the first respondent or his officials have harassed and intimidated me, and have, thereby, violated, are violating or are likely to violate my right to freedom of expression or to information and to practise journalism freely.”
Affidavit in support
In an affidavit in support of the application for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights, Mr Ajarfor said on Thursday, June 27, 2019, he was arrested in his office near the A&C Mall, East Legon, Greater Accra Region, by three persons, who identified themselves as officials of the National Security Council Secretariat, and two uniformed officers of the Ghana Police Service, who wielded an AK47 assault rifle each.
“That upon my arrest, the said persons immediately, forcefully, through imminent threat of harm and without a court warrant did seize from me an HP laptop computer, two mobile phones – an Infinix Zero 4 and an Infinix Zero 5 – and a Huawei tablet,” the affidavit said.
Mr Ajarfor said he, together with another colleague of his, were “immediately bungled and forced into a waiting vehicle whereupon my head was covered with a black polythene bag and, then, driven to an unknown location in Accra.”
According to Mr Ajarfor, upon arrival at the said unknown location, other officials, ostensibly acting under the control, command or instructions of the National Security Coordinator joined their three other colleagues, who arrested him earlier to interrogate him at night in respect of publications that his media house, ModernGhana.com, had published in respect of the Minister of National Security.
He said the publications, which called for the removal of the Minister of National Security, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, were authored by Constance Kwabeng of a group calling itself the United Patriots Group.
He said the said publications were removed the day before his arrest following a complaint by officials from the National Security Secretariat.
According to the plaintiff, the officials from National Security Secretariat subjected him to torture including several slaps and military drills all in their bid to solicit information on the whereabouts of Constance Kwabeng.