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Journalist brutalised for videotaping police attack on soccer fans

(CEMESP/IFEX) – On 13 February 2011, Journalist Fumbah Kanneh of Power FM/TV was attacked and brutally flogged by Police Commander Victor Gboyah while reporting on the Liberia versus Ghana International Women's football match played at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia.

Kanneh, who is also Vice President of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia, told CEMESP he was attacked by Policeman Gboyah, who pushed him to the ground, stepped on his back and stomach and later hit him in the mouth with a police baton, a situation that caused him to bleed profusely leaving his clothes with stains of blood.

The video camera being used by the journalist was damaged in the process.

Journalist Kanneh further informed CEMESP that Gboyah unleashed the attack on him after it was noticed that he was video-taping an incident involving Gboyah and his men manhandling spectators who had invaded the playing pitch after the match in celebration of Ghana's 4-0 win over Liberia.

Gboyah is a former officer of the defunct Special Operations Division (SOD), a very notorious force that operated under the dictatorial regime of Charles Taylor.

CEMESP vehemently condemns the attack on and flogging of journalist Kanneh.

CEMESP Director Malcolm Joseph, who, immediately after the incident, contacted the Deputy Commissioner of Police for Operations, Col. Al Karley, to tell him about the action of his men, called on the police to launch an immediate investigation and ensure that officer Gboyah is penalised for his action.

Joseph described the action of the police as not just an attack on Kanneh, but also an attack on press freedom and freedom of expression in Liberia.

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