Senegal: MFWA expresses worry over police brutality against journalists in Guinea

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has said it is worried about ''the continued attacks on journalists'' in Guinea Conakry by a section of the country's police and the Gendarmerie.

In a statement, obtained here by PANA on Tuesday, the sub-regional press freedom body disclosed that the latest police brutality case involved senior journalist Mohamed Valek Touré, a reporter for Espace TV.

According to the MFWA, the anti-riot police on duty at a court in Conakry beat up the journalist and destroyed his equipment as he tried to cover the high-profile trial of a leading opposition figure, Ousmane Gaoual Diallo, at the Court of first instance at Dixinn, a plush district in Conakry which attracted huge media interest.

It said that the press arrived at the premises on 11 August only to realise that the authorities had decided to ban them from covering the hearing and a contingent of anti-riot police had also been deployed to maintain order.

MFWA said Touré approached the police to broker a compromise.

Touré is said to have told the police that Guinean law states that court hearings are public events, and pleaded that the press be admitted into the courtroom even if without their cameras, recorders and microphones.

However, some of the police officers took offence and started assaulting him.

MFWA pointed out that the police allegedly attacked Touré with their fists and batons, subjecting him to further humiliation by shoving him onto the ground and his camera was damaged in the process.

The police also were said to have detained Touré briefly before releasing him.

According to the press freedom body, a fellow journalist who witnessed the scene, Bangaly Camara, of the Evasion media group, said: ''the police demonstrated unbelievable brutality and violence towards the Espace TV reporter.''

While calling on the Guinea Police Force to punish the officers involved in the attack on Touré, ''we urge the Guinea Police Force and the Gendarmerie to train their officers to respect the work of journalists and work collaboratively with them,'' MFWA noted.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 16Aug2016

16 august 2016 15:41:58

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