Nat’l security operatives tormented me – Modernghana.com editor

One of the editors of modernghana.com, an online news portal, arrested by the National Security operatives last week, says electric shock and other forms of pain were inflicted on him during his detention.

Emmanuel Ajafor Abugri, who was released on Saturday, recounted yesterday that he was slapped and beaten up by the security operatives for giving unimpressive answers during interrogation.

National security operatives last Thursday stormed the East Legon office of the portal, and arrested Mr Abugri and other editor of the online new portal, and seized computer laptops and mobile phones in the course of the operations.

The reason for the arrest is unclear but the National Security said it was in connection with alleged cybercrime involving the hacking into the emails and servers of popular competing websites and newsrooms to intercept emails.

But, the portal insisted it was over some articles it published about the National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah, and Member of Parliament for Effutu constituency, Alexander Afenyo-Markin.

After more 24 hours of detention in an undisclosed location, which attracted condemnation and call for their release by a section of the media and allied associations, the editors were granted bail over the weekend.

Recounting his ordeal to Accra –based JoyFM, yesterday, Mr Abugri said the interrogation by the security operatives was focused on the said publications and that the cybercrime issue never came up.

One of the articles, he said  was about the  protracted conflict at the University of Education, Winneba, which was received under the name that included ‘Constance’ and published after it met their editorial policy.

Mr Abugri told the operatives “I am not the one who wrote it”, an answer he alleged, offended the operatives.

He said the operatives did not believe he could go ahead and publish an opinion from an unacquainted source and concluded the article was authored by him.

“They beat me a lot,” Mr Abugri claimed, and recalled that they were captured unawares, saying “All we knew was that we were in a building.”

According to reports the gun-wielding operatives stormed the portal’s office without a warrant and strapped the heads of two of the staff in black polythene bags.

The National Security has denied the torture allegations, according to Joyfm.

Meanwhile, the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana has condemned the detention of the journalists, describing it is a clear sign that the country was lagging behind when it comes to press freedom.

Executive Secretary at PRINPAG, Nii Laryea Sowah, said the operatives at national security should have reported the conduct of the portal to the National Media Commission for redress instead of arresting the journalists.

He said the association would petition the President over the arest.

BY TIMES REPORTER

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