By Amin Kef (Ranger)
In a high-profile case, Ibrahim Alusine Kamara, a respected journalist working with the ‘Salone Compass Newspaper’ based in Freetown, has engaged the services of esteemed legal firm Marrah & Associates. The firm is to initiate a probe into an episode of alleged assault and property damage perpetrated by security personnel.
Kamara alleges that the incident took place on June 25, 2023, when he was covering a press conference held by the All Peoples Congress party (APC). Security personnel reportedly interrupted the event, firing rounds of tear gas and live ammunition. Kamara, along with fellow journalists, was compelled to take refuge in a nearby home until the situation was under control.
On returning to his vehicle, a Toyota Highlander with registration number AIJ-446, Kamara discovered severe damage he attributes to the chaos. Photographic evidence has been provided, illustrating the extent of destruction.
Kamara recounts that he was initially allowed to take his damaged vehicle to a repair shop by a security officer present at the scene. However, he was later stopped by two military personnel and an OSD officer who demanded that he return the vehicle. Despite his efforts to comply, one officer allegedly assaulted him with the butt of his gun, and another threatened to shoot him. This confrontation was defused by the timely intervention of Hon. Chernoh Bah.
The encounter led to Kamara seeking medical assistance at Choithrams Hospital due to physical injuries and psychological distress. The financial burden, including vehicle repairs and medical expenses, reportedly totaled USD 4,000.
Kamara previously reported the incident to the Inspector General of Police the day after the incident but has received no acknowledgement or response. Marrah & Associates has since taken up the matter, seeking an official investigation into the behaviour of the said police officers, in accordance with Regulation 3Sub Regulation 1(e) (d) &(h) of the Independent Police Complaints Board Regulations 203.
Kamara stands prepared to testify, furnishing documentary evidence and witnesses to support his allegations. The law firm has also notified the Executive Secretary of the Human Rights Commission Sierra Leone and the President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists about the incident.
Marrah & Associates anticipate a prompt response to address this grave matter and ensure justice for their client.