Latif Iddrisu, a Ghanaian broadcast journalist for the privately owned JoyFM radio station and JoyNews television channel, was beaten by a group of police officers at the criminal investigation department (CID) headquarters in the country’s capital, Accra, on March 27, 2018, the journalist told CPJ during a May 5 interview.
The attack occurred as Iddrisu was reporting on a protest outside the CID headquarters that was organized by youth members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) party against the detention of the party’s deputy general secretary, according to the journalist and a report from JoyOnline, a website featuring multimedia content from Iddrisu’s employers– JoyFM and JoyNews–as well as print articles.
Iddrisu told CPJ that he had asked one of the officers outside the headquarters to clarify the official name for one of the police’s crowd control vehicles when the officer told him to stop asking stupid questions, slapped him, and then pushed him into a crowd of officers who dragged the journalist into the main yard of the CID headquarters.
“They also pounced on me, started beating me up, slapping me here and there,” Iddrisu said. “They hit me with sticks and they hit my head with the butt of the gun multiple times,” Iddrisu said.
“[Another] police officer who came to rescue me…told them point blank that ‘he’s a journalist’, but they [the attacking officers] wouldn’t listen,” Iddrisu told CPJ. “They kept beating me until they got satisfied that they had dealt with me. Then they eventually released me.”
The beating left Iddrisu dizzy, spitting blood, and with the “suggestion of right frontal bone fracture” in his skull, according to the journalist and a medical report seen by CPJ.
Iddrisu told CPJ that, for approximately three months, he wore a neck brace recommended by his doctor. During CPJ’s May 2018 visit to his home, he said it was painful to look at sunlight and kept the curtains drawn. He used an umbrella for sun protection outside. Long periods in the sun still bring headaches, Iddrisu told CPJ in late July 2018.
Iddrisu told CPJ he filed a police report in the days after the attack.
David Senanu Eklu, assistant commissioner of police and director general for public affairs and communications at department police headquarters in Accra, told CPJ on July 23, 2018, that they have yet to identify the officers involved.
In late June 2018, the CID took over the investigation from the Cantonments Police, a neighborhood police unit responsible for the area where CID headquarters is located, Eklu told CPJ.
When asked if the CID was still reviewing CCTV footage of the attack, Eklu said, “I guess so. I am not privy to the details of the investigation at this stage.”
Eklu told CPJ in the same July 23 conversation that he could not give a specific timeline for when the CID investigation would conclude, but said it “should not be more than a month.”
On July 18, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) issued a statement that said, “We wish to state categorically that the GJA will not blink an eye on this case until justice is delivered to Latif.”
Iddrisu has worked for Joy media affiliates, which are owned by the Ghanaian media group Multimedia Group Ltd., since 2014, the journalist told CPJ. As a radio and television broadcaster he has focused on domestic environmental issues and drug policy.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This text has been updated to correct that protests mentioned in the second paragraph were against the detention of the party’s deputy general secretary.